Monday’s Golden West League boys’ volleyball battle between Godinez High and Ocean View came with high stakes.
The Grizzlies entered the day tied atop the league with Garden Grove, while the Seahawks and Segerstrom shared third place. There were two things riding on the outcome: a league championship and its third and final automatic CIF Southern Section playoff berth.
The Godinez-Ocean View match was exactly the roller-coaster ride you’d expect with so much on the line.
The Seahawks rallied for a 22-25, 15-25, 25-16, 25-19, 17-15 win at Godinez, clinching third place in the league and ruining the Grizzlies’ title hopes.
Garden Grove won the league title, finishing 8-2 with a 19-25, 25-15, 25-22, 26-24 win at home Monday over Segerstrom. The Grizzlies took second at 7-3, followed by Ocean View at 6-4 and the Jaguars at 5-5.
The Seahawks, who are 15-7 overall, qualified for the Division 5 playoffs by winning their last five matches in league play.
Senior Jackson Petrovich led the Seahawks, finishing with 15 kills, 21 digs and two service aces. Senior Devon Vu had 13 kills, three aces and three blocks. Hunter Miller totaled 36 assists and four aces.
For Ocean View coach Joshua Nehls, his team’s comeback boiled down to composure.
“It’s amazing,” Nehls said. “I was telling them right at the end that this is what we practiced so hard for. We practiced really tough for these types of situations to be able to come back when you’re down two sets and also down in the fifth set.”
On the other side, Godinez coach Johnny Sok said the pressure got to his team.
“They really wanted to win, but it just got to them,” he said. “We’ve got to come back tomorrow, play strong and work harder.”
The match started well for the Grizzlies on senior night, behind a dominating performance by senior captain Luis Nieto. He led the Grizzlies with 17 kills, five blocks and five aces, pushing Godinez to an early two-set lead
In spite of the team’s roster issues — Nathan Escobedo watched from the sideline with his arm in a sling and Angel Zavala also sat out — Nieto was proud of his team’s performance.
“Honestly, we felt pretty nervous,” he said. “I got two of my starters out. ... [Escobedo] actually got in a car accident. I’m bummed out for him because he broke his arm, nothing you can do, accidents happen. I thought we did really good. We had two JV guys play for us. We couldn’t have had a better game than that.”
Unfortunately for Godinez, Ocean View surged back to push the match to a deciding fifth set.
The teams twice traded leads, until it was 15-15. After Godinez committed a double contact fault to give the Seahawks match point, Vu converted the final kill to seal the win for Ocean View.
Vu, typically not one to show much emotion on the court, couldn’t contain himself as Ocean View capped its comeback. The Seahawks learn Friday whom they open the postseason with, either in the wild-card round on Saturday or the first round on April 30.
“I was nervous,” Vu said. “When my team is playing how we want to play, we’re hype; we’re all hype. We got a week to get ready for playoffs, we need to go off the hype, we just had a 5-0 run in league, and we’ve got to keep it going.”