The Ocean View High boys’ volleyball team finally met its match in the CIF Southern Section Division 5 playoffs on Wednesday night.
After three consecutive victories, including a sweep of top-seeded Hemet, the Seahawks could not continue their magical run.
Fourth-seeded Pacifica Christian Santa Monica swept Ocean View 25-14, 25-12, 25-11 in the semifinals at St. Bernard High.
Pacifica Christian (32-1) will play No. 3-seeded El Modena (19-7) for the championship on Saturday. El Modena swept Montebello 25-23, 25-12, 25-9 in the semifinals.
“We just couldn’t keep ourselves together to be honest,” Ocean View coach Joshua Nehls said. “I guess it was like, ‘How many times can you keep playing at a super-high level?’”
The match was delayed at the outset after an official suffered an injury. The 20-minute delay didn’t do anything to deter Pacifica Christian and its senior heavy, experienced team.
UCLA-bound Alex Knight came up big point after point for the Seawolves. Nehls was more than impressed.
“That guy was absolutely phenomenal,” Nehls said. “Plain and simple, the best guy on the court. He looked bored.”
Pacifica Christian faced little resistance from Ocean View (19-8). The Seawolves jumped out to leads in each set and never looked back.
“That team was awesome,” Nehls said. “They shouldn’t be in Division 5. They have had a great two-year run. They are monsters.”
Pacifica Christian didn’t just have Knight. The Seawolves received contributions from Kenny Minchin, Ben Reasner, middles Gabriel Conway-Burt and Dylan Swimmer, Eli Lingel and Stewart Cox.
Pacifica Christian coach Charles Schmittdiel knows he has a team that could go onto win the championship.
“We have worked so hard for this moment,” Schmittdiel said. “I have been with these guys and some even their brothers for years. It’s nice seeing the fruit of our labor. It’s really a great team effort.”
“We know we have to just take care of our side of the net,” Schmittdiel added. “We just play and not make mistakes. We try to force the other team into the mistakes. We make sure we are doing our job. It’s all about serving in, no errors and good passing. We are putting ourselves in a position to not lose any sets. that’s what we want. Win each set.”
Ocean View entered having won six matches in a row and 11 of its past 13. The Seahawks also had a stellar record of 5-1 in five-set matches.
Unfortunately, things didn’t even get close to five sets on Wednesday.
Pacifica Christian’s only loss this year was an early season tournament setback against L.A. City section juggernaut Los Angeles Eagle Rock in three sets.
The Seawolves are now 25-0 in sets since that loss on March 9. Pacifica Christian now is one match away from winning a section title.
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JACK POLLON is a contributor to Times Community News.