An early Battle of the Bay

Newport Harbor High Coach Dan Glenn asked a favor from a former player, who is now in her first year in charge at Back Bay rival Corona del Mar.

Can we switch the date of Battle of the Bay?

Coach Marissa Booker agreed to move the girls' volleyball rivalry match between the two schools to an earlier date. Instead of meeting toward the end of the regular season as they normally do, the Sailors play host to the Sea Kings on Saturday at 5:45 p.m.

The match features two 3-0 teams, two teams ranked in the top five in their respective CIF Southern Section polls.

Glenn's reason for the Sailors, No. 5 in Division I-AA, not playing the Sea Kings, No. 2 in Division I-A, in November made sense to Booker.

"We switched the Corona [match] because we end our season with [Sunset League matches against] Huntington [Beach], Los [Alamitos] and Edison," Glenn said. "I couldn't go Huntington, Los Al, Edison, Corona and then the CIF playoffs. I don't think I put my team in a good position to have success at the end of the year. That's too many big matches in a row, and if I have kids with arm issues [like Cinnamon Sary] and … I have two kids [Alex Holbrook and Claire Castillo] coming off ACL [injuries], so I'm trying to be smart about some of that stuff.

"I'm excited to play it early. I think it gets the kids at school thinking about volleyball early."

The interest is always high whenever Newport Harbor and CdM meet on the court. Another angle to the contest is that Booker gets her first shot at the man she played for and helped win.

While at Newport Harbor, she went by Marissa Cothran. She was a captain and helped lead the Sailors to CIF Southern Section Division I-AA and CIF State Division I titles before she graduated in 1999.

"It's just exciting … to be a part of this volleyball culture," Booker said before the season. "There's nothing like it. There really isn't probably anywhere.

"I was actually having a conversation with our girls about [the rivalry]. Last year was the first year CdM beat Newport in … six years."

Glenn, who has been at Newport Harbor since 1986, doesn't want to make it a habit losing to CdM.

"I don't know if it's revenge [for last year]," Glenn said. "We definitely want to win. It's a city championship."

Twitter: @dcpenaloza

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