Huntington Beach captains Mike Grave and Nick Ziegler wouldn't let their team die.
The Oilers survived four match points and outlasted top-seeded El Toro in a three-hour match, winning the fifth game, 18-16, of the Southern Section Division I semifinal boys' volleyball semifinal Wednesday before a crowd of 1,000 at Mission Viejo High.
Grave had 33 kills, 12 in the fifth game, and Ziegler had 21 kills, 10 in the last game, to lead the unseeded Oilers to an 11-15, 15-7, 8-15, 15-11, 18-16 victory.
"We just hung in there," Huntington Beach Coach Rocky Ciarelli said. "It was unbelievable."
Huntington Beach (20-2), the defending Division I champion, advanced to play Laguna Beach in the 7:30 p.m. final Saturday at Cerritos College. El Toro finished 19-2.
El Toro, which defeated Huntington Beach in the final of the Orange County Championships earlier this season, threw everything it had at the Oilers but couldn't put the match away.
El Toro outside hitter Ryan Mariano had 31 kills, 12 in the fifth game, and setter Todd Steinert had 82 assists, nine kills and four blocks to lead a balanced offense. Doug Thompson added 24 kills and Chris Jacobson had 20 kills and three blocks.
With the score tied, 14-14, in the fifth game, the teams traded nine consecutive side outs before Bill Coblentz blocked Grave for a side out, then Steinert blocked Grave again for a 15-14 El Toro lead.
But Grave spiked for two side outs when the Chargers were serving for the match and a net violation erased a third El Toro match point. Then Huntington Beach setter Josh Moss, who had 71 assists and three blocks, blocked Thompson to even the score, 15-15.
El Toro took a 16-15 lead on a Coblentz tip, but Ziegler spiked from the middle for a side out to erase the fourth match point. Ziegler blocked Coblentz for another point, helping the Oilers win three consecutive points and the match.