HUNTINGTON BEACH — Dan Glenn and Bryan Cottriel used to win a lot together at Newport Harbor High. Glenn was in charge of the boys' and girls' volleyball programs and Cottriel was his assistant.
Glenn is still with the Sailors and Cottriel left five years ago to become a varsity head coach at another school. Before this season, none of Cottriel's teams had beaten a Glenn-coached team.
The two met on the court Monday night for the second time in a seven-day span. Cottriel got over on his mentor again.
It took three sets for Santa Margarita to defeat the Sailors last week to give Cottriel his first victory against Glenn. Three sets are all the Eagles needed to knock off Newport Harbor in the Orange County Championships boys' gold division final.
The Eagles won the best-of-three format, 25-12, 23-25, 15-11, at Edison High. They almost swept Newport Harbor, just as in last week's nonleague match.
Being under Glenn for 10 years, Cottriel knew the Sailors would fight back. Newport Harbor (8-5) forced a decisive third set after it kept feeding the ball to outside hitter Cody Caldwell.
The 6-foot-6 senior finished with a match-high 15 kills and kept the Sailors in the third set. Twice Caldwell tied things up with shots, the last time at 7-7, but the much bigger and more talented Eagles scored eight of the last 12 points to win the tournament title.
There was no denying Santa Margarita (14-2), ranked No. 2 in the CIF Southern Section Division I coaches' poll. The last time the Eagles were in a tournament finale, they lost to top-ranked Mira Costa of Manhattan Beach in the Best of the West in Poway.
Glenn said Mira Costa and Santa Margarita are a step better than everyone else in the division. He is not counting his Sailors out. It is too early.
"I think we got the biggest growth curve," Glenn said. "We can improve more than anybody else. Hopefully, we'll continue to get better."
The Sailors will have to improve fast if they want to compete with the premier programs. They hit the road to face Laguna Beach, ranked No. 2 in Division II, on Thursday and Mira Costa on Friday.
The experience against the upper-echelon programs will only bode well for Newport Harbor when it comes to the playoffs.
"I got some guys who have played in big matches and other guys who haven't," Glenn said.
That was evident in the opening set against Santa Margarita. Before everyone in the gym could sit down, Newport Harbor trailed, 5-0.
Glenn called a timeout, hoping to calm his players down. He said they were a little nervous and were not playing with much emotion.
The Sailors responded after the timeout, cutting the deficit to two points. That is as close Newport Harbor got to the Eagles in the first set.
Santa Margarita took a 4-1 lead in the second set and appeared on its way to ending the Sailors' evening early. Newport Harbor might have spent more time on the court during warm-ups than in the match if it were not for Caldwell elevating his play.
Setter Ian Sequeira went to the Loyola University Chicago-bound Caldwell in the second set. Caldwell recorded seven kills, four down the stretch as Newport Harbor recorded its first lead at 22-21.
Then Caldwell hammered three kills to help the Sailors take the set.
"Cody was just absolutely going off in the second game," Cottriel said. "We had to make an adjustment. We basically kind of moved our defense around just so we could at least be around where he was at."
Caldwell managed four kills in the last set, but four net violations hurt the Sailors. Both Caldwell and Sequeira, who had 26 assists, earned all-tournament honors, along with Santa Margarita junior middle blocker Mitch Vallis (eight kills) and UC Santa Barbara-bound senior outside hitter Spencer Buckley (eight kills), who was named the tournament MVP.
"It's a fun thing for me to beat my mentor," Cottriel said. "[Glenn] was in my wedding [seven years ago]. He's one of the people I look up to in this world. He's almost like a dad to me in a sense. He not only taught me how to be a good coach, but a good man, a good person, a good husband, and a good father, too."