NEWPORT BEACH — In practice Wednesday, Corona del Mar High senior Weston Nielsen said his team only really practiced its team cheers. Before the match Friday at Newport Harbor High, Nielsen made sure the mood stayed light when he came into the room with a black Sharpie.
"You could tell our group was a little more wild," said Nielsen, who is headed to UC Santa Barbara. "We had some characters. I think we had more fun with it ... [Laguna Beach's] Scottie Chapel has been growing the most glorious mustache for his brother's wedding. So I walked in with a Sharpie and made everybody 'mustache up' before the game to kind of lighten the mood."
Nielsen's South squad, mustaches intact, took the tight match Friday night at the 33rd annual Dave Mohs Memorial Orange County High School Volleyball All-Star Game. The South, which also featured CdM's Joey Booth (USC), won by a 25-23, 14-25, 15-10 score.
The North squad featured Newport Harbor libero Connor Curry (Penn State), setter Jackson Carmack (UCLA) and middle Will Connelly (USC).
The boys' match, as well as the girls' match that preceded it, was played for charity. It was a fund-raiser for St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church and money raised will be used for volleyballs and nets to schools in Mexico and Haiti.
The South side, led by the antics of Nielsen, was clearly in a bit lighter mind-set from the start.
"So you guys come out a lot, or is this your first time?" he asked his teammates with a grin in the third set, as he wandered toward the bench. "My brother knows the DJ. We're getting free drinks all night."
Curry said the match was also fun.
"It's fun," Curry said. "The volleyball community is really small and everybody knows everybody. It's fun to get out here with all the guys and play."
Mission Viejo middle blocker Spencer Rowe, headed for UCLA, was named match MVP.