Marina, Huntington Beach win boys’ volleyball regional titles
The Marina High School boys’ volleyball team accomplished another first for the program on Saturday as a magical playoff run reached its end on a victorious note.
The top-seeded Vikings walked off the court winners with a 25-15, 20-25, 23-25, 25-23, 15-7 win over Carlsbad at home in the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III championship match.
Senior outside hitter Daniel Purtell had 31 kills, 16 digs, three blocks and two service aces to lead Marina (13-5). Senior outside hitter Aidan Patterson added 21 kills, 15 digs and two blocks, junior middle blocker Nathan Geurink added five kills and four blocks, and senior middle blocker Jaxen Phillips-Hill also had three blocks.
Freshman setter Dyllan Nguyen distributed 61 assists to go with 11 digs and two blocks, and junior libero Joseph Nunez had a team-high 19 digs for the Vikings.
Purtell had seven kills and two blocks in the fifth set alone.
“We lost two sets, and I was (upset),” Purtell said. “We haven’t had a team give it to us like that in a while, and I haven’t gotten angry a lot. I just stepped it up. Anger gives me a little extra inch on the jump, and I put the ball away.”
It was just the second time in the postseason that the Vikings had dropped a set. After squandering a 23-18 lead in the fourth set, Marina found itself two points away from elimination before reversing the momentum.
“We had to focus on, ‘It’s a game to two [points], and we’re the better team,’” Marina coach Ryan Parker said. “If we don’t want to play like the better team, our season’s over, but if we play like we can play and we stay aggressive, we find a side out, and then the game is over.
“It was staying aggressive, not making mistakes. Once we win that side-out point, it’s on the service line and just feeling confident that we’re the better team in that moment.”
Patterson commented on the unpredictable nature of the Vikings’ playoff run. Marina went 5-5 in the regular season. It then went on to win eight consecutive elimination games to close out the season, culminating in the school’s first CIF Southern Section and CIF State regional titles.
“I didn’t in a million years,” Patterson said when asked if he saw this run coming. “I came into this program starting on varsity as a freshman, and this year was my first time ever winning a league game.
“We’ve always done pretty poorly in league. This year, we edged up just a little bit to be able to get that record and [finish] second in league and make it into the CIF and state playoffs, but no, I did not see this run coming.”
Huntington Beach boys’ volleyball goes distance to beat Torrey Pines
The Huntington Beach High School boys’ volleyball team did not break stride in its CIF State Southern California Regional Division II playoff run.
The Oilers went to a decisive fifth set in all three regional matches, ultimately bringing the title home with a 22-25, 25-17, 26-24, 25-27, 15-11 win on the road at top-seeded San Diego Torrey Pines on Saturday night.
Sophomore outside hitter Liam Phinizy contributed a team-high 27 kills to go with two blocks for Huntington Beach (17-5). Senior opposite Trent Douphner added 17 kills, four blocks and two aces. Senior outside hitter Cayman LaFontaine had 13 kills and two blocks, and junior setter Will Lawler handed out 54 assists for the Oilers.
The Oilers had to deal with disappointment in a five-set match in the CIF Division 2 final at Santa Barbara, but Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti said his team made a decision to put it all on the line for the state playoffs.
“I wasn’t even sure if we were going to get through it,” Pazanti said. “We were pretty beat up. Douphner didn’t even finish the first state game. He had to come out after the second set with a calf and hamstring strain.
“LaFontaine battled injury pretty much all year, and I just think it was just resiliency, just the mind frame of, ‘We didn’t want it to end.’ We went through so much just to get to the season, and we wanted to finish the thing right.”
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