It took 3 hours 20 minutes for Laguna Beach to beat Los Angeles Loyola, 9-15, 15-8, 15-13, 12-15, 16-14, in a Division I boys' volleyball semifinal Wednesday at Corona del Mar.
The second-seeded Artists (17-1) will meet Huntington Beach in the title match at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Cerritos College.
For the second time in the playoffs, Laguna Beach was a point away from being eliminated when the Cubs took a 14-13 lead and held serve in the final game.
However, Dan Styles and Beau Bianchi, who had 36 and 27 kills, respectively, kept the Artists alive with several key plays. After Styles held off Loyola with a pair of crucial side outs, Bianchi put a spike on the line to draw the Artists even, 14-14.
The teams then traded side outs before Bianchi teamed with Trevor Whalley on a block to give the Artists a match point. Loyola outside hitter Davy Olsen was then whistled for sliding under the net, giving Laguna Beach the deciding point.
"This was just like the (second-round) Dana Hills game," Bianchi said. "They had us match point, but we came back."
After quietly losing the first game, the Artists came to life in Game 2 and jumped out to a 14-4 lead before finally putting the Cubs away.
In the third game, the Artists blew leads of 10-5 and 13-10, but eventually won the game on a Justin Maison service ace. The biggest battle was in Game 4 as the teams went through 22 consecutive side outs before the Cubs won.