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Eagles still own Mesa

COSTA MESA — Rachel Busby said she learned her title from assistant coach to head coach of the Costa Mesa High girls’ volleyball team changed Tuesday afternoon.

Before the Mustangs played at cross-town rival Estancia in an Orange Coast League match at night, Busby said she heard from Coach Jeff Weihert.

“He had a family emergency he had to take care of tonight,” said Busby, putting her in charge.

“I was like, ‘OK! I got this!’ ”


Busby’s first crack as a varsity head coach did not last long.

The Eagles swept the Mustangs, 25-22, 25-21, 25-22, making it 13 straight victories against Costa Mesa. Estancia continues to own the series, even with a new coach.

Coach Paul Muñoz has guided Estancia to a 3-2 record in league, while the Mustangs fell to 2-3 in league. The Eagles’ goal is to make the CIF Southern Section Division I-A playoffs.

Finishing first, second or third in league guarantees Estancia its fifth straight postseason berth. First place is a long shot with powerhouse Laguna Beach in the league.


The Breakers, ranked fifth in the Division I-A coaches’ poll, travel to Estancia Thursday. The message Muñoz will give the Eagles is the same one he delivers before every match.

“You have to play your hardest,” said Muñoz, who’s in his first year with the girls. “These girls have enough fight where they know they can be a playoff team.”

The Eagles have five league games left to make a run at the postseason. The young team closed out the first half of league by earning their first sweep in league.

The start to the match was a little slow for Estancia as the Mustangs jumped out to a 5-0 lead behind two service aces by Sami Feinstein. Once the Eagles settled down, they clinched the opening set with big swings by outside hitter Lily McLendon and middle blocker Lauren Peterson.

McLendon finished with a match-high 14 kills and Peterson contributed nine kills.

Early on in the second set, the teams were even eight times. Estancia tried to pull away, going on an 11-4 run to take a 21-14 lead. Costa Mesa rallied with the left-handed arm of Amanda Moore.

Moore helped cut the deficit to two before Peterson turned her back and looked at the scoreboard. It read, Estancia 23, Costa Mesa 21.

Peterson quickly changed it after stuffing outside hitter Alex Krohnfeldt’s shot. At game point, McLendon then sealed Game 2 with a skill.


Busby believed the Mustangs might have a chance to force a fourth set if they eliminated the mistakes. Game 3 began with more errors.

Estancia reeled off the third set’s first eight points. A timeout by Busby appeared to reassure Costa Mesa. The Mustangs went on a spurt of their own, outscoring Estancia, 15-6, to go ahead, 15-14.

Costa Mesa increased its lead by as many as three points. It was time for Muñoz to ask for a timeout.

“With any team, especially Costa Mesa, there’s a lot of emotion … and the girls feed on it,” Muñoz said. “What I told them that last game where we were down, 21-18, I pulled them aside and I said, ‘Look, you got to regain your focus. You’ve got to come back. All it takes is one point for us to regain [the momentum].’ ”

Gianna Jason provided the spark. The middle blocker recorded one of her six blocks, igniting the Eagles and the home crowd.

Estancia went on to claim the first match against the Mustangs in league. The next one is at Costa Mesa, where Busby expects to return to her role as assistant coach and let Weihert coach.