Haly a champion

When Spencer Haly arrived at Corona del Mar High four years ago, he planned to play three sports. His parents got involved with athletics during their high school years and he followed their footsteps.

Haly's father, Gregg, was a three-sport athlete at Foothill. His mom, Mary Ann, played volleyball at CdM. It made sense for Haly to participate in two of dad's sports, football and basketball, and mom's favorite.

The one sport Gregg competed in high school that Haly did not have an interest in at CdM was baseball.

"I couldn't keep playing that game," Haly said. "I don't like standing around a whole lot in a game."

Haly has not stood around during his four years at CdM. He has stayed busy, on and off the court.

In the classroom, Haly is a success. He said he has a 4.4 grade-point average and he is bound for Stanford.

It was in the athletic arena where Haly never earned a chance to win the ultimate prize, a CIF Southern Section title, in his first 3½ years at CdM. Every sport he played in during the span, each team fell short.

Three years ago, as a member of the football team, CdM got as far as the CIF Southern Section Southern Division semifinals. Haly did not return to the sport because playing three sports became cumbersome.

With the basketball team, CdM's playoff run ended shorter than the football team's. The Sea Kings lost in the CIF Southern Section Division III-A quarterfinals two seasons ago, only to follow that up with a quarterfinal ouster in the Division III-AA playoffs this past season.

In volleyball, Haly and the Sea Kings got close last year, but it turned out to be an exit in the CIF Southern Section Division I semifinals. The same story as three years ago, when CdM lost in the Division II semifinals.

What alluded Haly was a shot to play for a section title.

"That's the one game I've never been to," said Haly, who wondered if it might not happen before he graduates.

Haly's final volleyball season was the last shot. He knew the program had the talent to win it all.

Three months after the Sea Kings opened the season, Haly and his teammates reached the biggest stage. Haly finally made it and he made sure the Sea Kings finished on top.

You had better believe Haly last Saturday never felt the way he did before a match, during one or after one. At stake was a CIF Southern Section Division II title. Defending champion Laguna Beach was in the way.

Actually, standing in the way of the second-seeded Breakers repeating was a 6-foot-7 middle blocker named Haly. The biggest player on the court produced a big-time performance to lift top-seeded CdM to a 23-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-16 victory at Cypress College.

Haly went off for a career-high 20 kills on 27 attempts, with just one error. He added two solo blocks and four blocks assists, more importantly he can add section champion to his bio.

"This is as good as it can get right here," said Haly, who helped the Sea Kings claim their seventh section crown in the program's history. "It's just been my goal for the last four years to win a championship, and it was exciting as I had hoped it to be.

"I would hope that I would get more than one championship between all my different sports. This has been a great time here. I've accomplished pretty much everything I wanted to. It's been a lot of fun."

The fun is not over for Haly. There is one more champion to be crowned.

The Sea Kings (31-4) are in the CIF Southern California Regional Division II final against Westlake (27-5) Saturday at Irvine Valley College at 5 p.m. Coach Steve Conti called it unchartered territory for CdM, which is in its first regional playoff.

Haly said the Sea Kings will be ready.

"We're going to approach this game … just like any other," Haly said. "We're going do whatever we can to win it."


Spencer Haly

Born: Sept. 8, 1992

Hometown: Newport Beach

Height: 6-foot-7

Weight: 225 pounds

Sport: Boys' volleyball

Coach: Steve Conti

Favorite movie: "Step Brothers"

Favorite food: Hamburger from In-N-Out Burger

Favorite athletic moment: "Winning CIF."

Week in review: He recorded a career-high 20 kills on 27 attempts, with only one error, two solo blocks and four block assists, leading CdM past Laguna Beach, 23-25, 25-15, 25-14, 25-16, in the CIF Southern Section Division II championship at Cypress College.

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