The Ocean View High boys’ volleyball team has had wins that it was prouder of this season.
Exactly one week ago, the Seahawks got revenge for their setback to Anaheim in the CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs last season, beating the Colonists in five sets.
Ocean View came away with a straight sets win against visiting Sage Hill on Thursday night, but there was no denying that the Seahawks took their foot off the gas in a 25-9, 25-20, 26-24 nonleague sweep.
“Those were my exact words to them,” Seahawks coach Joshua Nehls said. “You can’t do that. You can’t just beat a team and then take your foot off the pedal. You have to keep it on and finish because that’s what allows a team to get confident and come back and beat you, which almost happened in sets two and three.”
The Seahawks (6-1) cruised through the first set, never surrendering more than two points in a row.
Both coaches saw their teams go through major ebbs and flows. First-year Sage Hill coach Justin Johnson saw the Lightning (1-1) flip a switch after the Seahawks ran away with Game 1.
“We had this daze in our eyes,” Johnson said of his team’s start. “We weren’t fully ready, so we got beat pretty bad in the first set. I just wanted to remind the guys that it’s 0-0 in set two. We have a chance. It’s best-out-of-five.
“I saw the guys. They did their part in waking up, in a sense, but we still didn’t have that right mentality present today. We didn’t have that aggressive, go-getter attitude.”
Senior setter Hunter Miller had 12 kills, 11 assists and three service aces. Senior outside hitter Jackson Petrovich also had 12 kills, including six in the second set.
Ocean View and Sage Hill both possessed small rosters. The Seahawks had two bench players available, while the Lightning had none.
The programs have to make do with what they have. At times, it can lead to a sense of security in one’s starting position, but it also creates a dependency on each other.
“I think it’s because we’re so short-staffed, you could say, that we really feel like we’re all relying on each other because we don’t have backups,” Petrovich said. “There’s not somebody who can bring in that competition to fight for spots on our team.
“We’ve already made it. We already know that we’re good enough. It’s just, I feel like we have to prove to each other that we want to do as well as we can.”
Senior outside hitter Kermel Anwell had six kills and two aces, and junior setter Andrew Hovis added 14 assists and two aces for Ocean View.
Sage Hill was led by Amin Sajjadian, who churned out 20 assists to go with two aces and two kills. Jackson Bryant had nine kills, while Connor Martin and Miles Bennett each had five kills.
“I thought that Jackson [Bryant] did a really good job of hitting,” Johnson said. “He did a good job of not making many errors, which was nice.
“[The Seahawks] had a lot of scrappy defense on that side, so they were able to dig it and put it back over.”
Miller had six kills, and senior opposite Daniel Powell-Horan added three kills in a third set that saw the Seahawks rally from an 18-14 deficit to finish the match in straight sets.
After the win, Miller said that Nehls has spoken to the team repeatedly about its tendency to relax in matches, adding that it is still a problem that the Seahawks are trying to work out.
“I think it just took us getting our mind back in the game,” Miller said of the Seahawks’ rally in the third set. “[We needed to get] back to thinking about what we did in the first set and just knowing, ‘We know how they play defense, where they position their block, and what they do on the whole court.’