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Newport Harbor boys’ volleyball gets its revenge on Mira Costa in CIF finals rematch

The Newport Harbor boys' volleyball team celebrates its win at Mira Costa in the semifinals on Saturday.
The Newport Harbor boys’ volleyball team celebrates its win at Mira Costa in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

Newport Harbor made two visits to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa last season, and those losses left an indelible mark on the Sailors.

In their chance to exorcise those demons, the Sailors did just that, as Newport Harbor defeated Mira Costa 25-20, 25-23, 28-26 on Saturday in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys’ volleyball semifinals.

The Sailors took their turn to end the Mustangs’ playoff run, doing so a year after Mira Costa sent the Sailors home in four sets in the Division 1 final.

Newport Harbor's Riggs Guy (5) spikes for a point against Mira Costa on Saturday.
Newport Harbor’s Riggs Guy (5) spikes for a point against Mira Costa on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

“After coming here last year in the finals, losing, coming back to this gym – this is my first time ever winning in this gym,” said senior setter Cole McKibbin, who had 38 assists and a service ace for the Sailors. “Winning in three, too, definitely meant a lot to me.”

Jake Read had a team-high 16 kills and 1½ blocks to lead Newport Harbor (24-5), which will now face top-seeded Los Angeles Loyola (21-2) in the championship match at Long Beach City College on Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

The junior outside hitter came up big for the Sailors in the second and third sets, registering seven kills in each. Emotions ran high from both teams as the third set reached the late stages.

Newport Harbor's Jake Read (6) keeps a ball in play against Mira Costa on Saturday.
Newport Harbor’s Jake Read (6) keeps a ball in play against Mira Costa on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

“I think we knew how good [Mira Costa] is and that they could come back if we gave them a set, and it could easily go to five,” Read said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose that [third] set so we didn’t have that chance of going to five.”

Junior outside hitter Luca Curci had 12 kills and a block for Newport Harbor. Senior middle blocker James Eadie contributed seven kills and 1½ blocks, and sophomore outside hitter Riggs Guy added six kills and a service ace.

Newport Harbor coach Eric Vallely said the history between the programs provided an extra incentive. The teams also met in the CIF finals in 2019, with the Sailors winning that one in four sets.

Newport Harbor's Riggs Guy (5), James Eadie (26) and Luca Curci (18) put up a triple block against Mira Costa on Saturday.
Newport Harbor’s Riggs Guy (5), James Eadie (26) and Luca Curci (18) put up a triple block against Mira Costa on Saturday.
(James Carbone)

“I don’t think we get hung up on it, but it certainly has motivation for us, for sure,” Vallely said. “These two programs have been playing each other for decades, and they’ve been very heated battles for decades, so coming up here and winning on their floor with going to the finals on the line, it’s a big deal.”

Sophomore outside hitter Victor Loiola had 15 kills to pace Mira Costa (19-10). Senior outside hitter Mick Bakos and sophomore opposite Stone Seligson each had six kills and a block, and junior setter Jason Walmer wound up with 29 assists and two blocks.

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