Huntington Beach High boys' volleyball Coach Craig Pazanti knew the laser-sharp focus his team possessed before the 2012 season got underway. So it didn't come as a surprise to him that his Oilers would become champions of the Sunset League.
"These guys have been focused on their goals since last fall, last summer, in fact," Pazanti said. "They knew what they wanted to achieve, and they went out and did it. They felt that they had underachieved last year and were hungry this year."
A year after finishing third in the Sunset standings and getting knocked out in the opening round of the postseason by eventual CIF Southern Section Division 1-champion Mater Dei, Huntington ascended to the league's penthouse. On Tuesday, the Oilers wrapped up a perfect league season (10-0) and ran their win streak to 15 by defeating visiting Marina, 22-25, 25-15, 25-13, 25-20. Edgar Palos had 14 kills and nine digs, Zach Gates had nine kills and Ryan Desisto had 14 digs.
Andrew Pearson had 16 kills and nine digs, Logan Atkinson 14 kills and Chad McCalistar 15 digs and four kills for Marina (2-8 league).
Huntington, ranked fifth in Division 1 and 21-3 overall, perhaps picked up its biggest win of the season Friday by storming back from two sets down to beat host Newport Harbor, 21-25, 21-25, 26-24, 25-20, 15-13. In doing so, the Oilers won an outright league title and dethroned the defending champion in the process. Andrew Tenbrink had 11 kills and Gates, Palos, Bert Peyton and Brendan Sander, all had nine kills.
With the win, Huntington became the first Sunset team to sweep Newport Harbor in a single season since the Sailors joined the league five years ago. Prior to match, the Oilers had won all eight of their previous league matches by sweep.
In other Sunset League action Tuesday, Los Alamitos defeated Edison, 22-25, 25-14, 25-15, 25-22, and Newport Harbor swept Fountain Valley, 25-19, 25-14, 25-20.
Another local team to clinch a league championship was Ocean View. The Seahawks achieved that feat Friday by going the same rout as Huntington, rallying from two sets down to earn a 20-25, 18-25, 29-27, 25-17, 15-9 victory at Loara. The comeback triumph gave the Seahawks (14-4, 9-0) the Golden West League crown.
Ralph Cabiltes had 10 digs, three blocks and 60 assists, Andrew Huynh had 15 digs, Elijah Nolasco 39 digs, August Oda 10 kills, 11 digs and five blocks, Spencer Perzanowski four kills and eight blocks, and Adam Wills 40 kills, 28 digs and four blocks.
"I was excited to see all of our hard work pay off winning league," Ocean View Coach Seth Cutrell said. "We have a strong group of athletes right now and are playing great volleyball. If we continue to play in our system, I see us going far into CIF."
In the Sunset League finale Tuesday, Jacob Schulze of Huntington Beach earned medalist honors with a 33 (three-under par) as the Oilers edged Marina, 191-195, at SeaCliff Country Club in Huntington Beach. Robert Rice and Ramiz Jamal both scored 38 for Marina (18-4), which finished in second place at 7-3. Huntington finished in third place at 6-4 and Los Alamitos won the title with a 9-1 record.
In a previous match at SeaCliff, Marina edged Edison, 200-2004. Vikings freshman Nick Swanson was the medalist at 37 (one-over par).
The Sunset League individual tournament started Wednesday and continues at noon Thursday at Goose Creek Golf Club in Mira Loma.
The Sunset League prelims were held Wednesday and finals are Friday, both at Newport Harbor High. The Edison boys' and girls' teams both went 5-0 to win the dual meet portion of the league season.