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Oilers are best in Orange County

HUNTINGTON BEACH — No one could top the Huntington Beach High boys’ volleyball team all weekend in the Orange County Championships.

It was a close match, but the same was true Monday night, too.

Huntington Beach rallied to top CdM, 18-25, 25-17, 15-12, in the Division I final at Edison High.

The Oilers, ranked No. 3 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches’ poll, went undefeated in six tournament matches. No. 4 Corona del Mar, meanwhile, lost its first two pool-play matches Friday — one to the Oilers — and qualified for the quarterfinals via a tiebreaker. CdM also saved a match point in its semifinal match against Edison.


The Sea Kings qualified for the quarterfinals only because Huntington Beach beat Mater Dei in its final pool-lay match.

“The scenario in my head was kind of the Jets vs. the Colts scenario,” Oilers Coach Craig Pazanti said. “You don’t want to help them get in, then have to play them again and get knocked out. I think our guys really refocused well after that first game. We came in on an emotional high, but to get knocked down and get back up again was a good testament to the toughness that these guys are starting to figure out.”

Sophomore Parker Brown was hot early, pounding out four kills in Game 1 as the Sea Kings took control. But Huntington Beach (15-3) went on a 9-3 spurt midway through Game 2. The run, which ended with the designated home team up, 20-13, was capped by three straight blocks, one from senior tournament Most Valuable Player Nick Iorfino and two from junior setter Ben Simons.

From there, CdM could only get as close as five points.


Serving errors also hurt the Sea Kings early in the decisive third game, three of them contributing to an early Huntington Beach advantage. CdM was within, 13-11, late, but Iorfino added two more kills to close it out.

Iorfino and senior Nick Siegel led the Oilers with eight kills. Seniors Weston Nielsen and Joey Booth, along with Brown, all had seven kills for the Sea Kings.

Freshman libero Matt Butler was named to the all-tournament team for the Oilers, who also had Simons dish out 24 assists. Nielsen and Booth were both named to the all-tournament team for CdM.

“We were expecting [the Sea Kings] to come out hard, which they did,” Iorfino said. “We’re just very consistent when it comes to putting balls away. We step up in tough situations.”

Pazanti definitely saw that from his team.

“Once we settled down, I thought we started digging more balls,” he said. “We gave ourselves more opportunities to score points while we were serving. If we do that, we’re in good shape.”

Huntington Beach faces Edison in a tough nonleague match at home on Wednesday, and opens up Sea View League play at Foothill on March 30.

The Chargers also had an all-tournament team member in Torey Darin.