Newport Harbor boys’ volleyball extends unbeaten streak to 13 with win over rival CdM
The Newport Harbor High boys’ volleyball team is picking up where it left off, as the defending CIF Southern Section Division 1 champions are showing no signs of slowing down.
Senior outside hitters Jake Read and Luca Curci have the Sailors docked atop the Division 1 and 2 combined rankings once more, riding a 13-match winning streak at the outset of the Surf League schedule.
Read supplied 18 kills and 10 digs to lead Newport Harbor to a sweep of visiting Corona del Mar 25-20, 25-23, 25-18 on Friday in the first meeting of the Battle of the Bay rivals this season.
“It feels great,” Read, a Loyola-Chicago commit, said of earning a win against the Sea Kings to kick off league. “Beating CdM is always one to cherish. It’s always a great fight, a great battle. This was really fun. It’s always a great time playing against CdM and especially beating them.”
Curci delivered 10 kills and three block assists for Newport Harbor (19-1). Junior opposite Riggs Guy had nine kills. Middle blockers Lukas Johnson, a senior, and Jack Berry, a sophomore, had eight kills apiece, and senior setter Korbin Francisco churned out 47 assists across the three sets.
Newport Harbor’s only loss came against Beckman in the final of the Tesoro Tournament. The Sailors have since won the Best of the West Tournament, and they have dropped only one set across their prolonged winning streak.
Experience at each position group has provided stability for the Sailors.
“We’ve got a lot of new faces on the team this year as compared to last year, but there’s also a lot of continuity in terms of the experience of the guys that we returned,” Newport Harbor coach Andrew Mabry said. “I think what we’ve seen in the first month or so of the season, which is about where we’re at — we’re about the halfway point — that we’ve seen kind of a consistent rate of improvement.”
Corona del Mar, ranked fourth in the Division 1 and 2 combined poll, was playing without standout junior outside hitter Sterling Foley, who was with the U.S. youth national team for the NORCECA U19 Continental Championship in Guatemala.
Senior opposite George Bruening, a UC Santa Barbara signee, had a team-leading 14 kills for CdM (10-4).
“He’s been doing a really good job taking care of himself, understanding when he needs to go to the trainer and just being ready to play,” CdM coach Katey Thompson said of Bruening. “He’s doing a lot of work, and a lot of that work happened in the offseason.”
Junior outside hitter Reid McMullen added eight kills for the Sea Kings. Junior setter Ryan Gant had 25 assists and two aces, and sophomore libero Brogan Glenn chipped in with 10 digs.
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