Quest for the final begins

Steve Conti and Steve Astor had their boys' volleyball teams trading blows in the Battle of the Bay Friday night.

The coaches spent Saturday night together, watching another big match in Los Angeles: the NCAA Championship, UC Irvine vs. USC.

This upcoming week, they'll begin the quest to guide their teams to the biggest match in their respective divisions of the CIF Southern Section playoffs. They learned their pairings Saturday morning. Sage Hill School, the Academy League champion, also made the playoffs.

Conti's Corona del Mar Sea Kings, who beat Astor's Newport Harbor Sailors in four games Friday, grabbed the No. 2 seed in Division 2 and received a first-round bye.

CdM (22-6), the Pacific Coast League champion, will play at home Thursday against the winner of the San Luis Obispo (12-11) at Oaks Christian (18-5) match.

Oak Park (26-6), theTri-Valleychampion, is the top seed in Division 2.

The Sea Kings dominated the PCL, sweeping all but one of their matches. Conti said he stressed his players to treat each team as any other and to always play at a high level. Playing against Newport Harbor and competing in Hawaii in April helped the Sea Kings maintain their competitiveness.

"We have a lot of seniors and I like how they are playing," Conti said. "They are well aware that if you don't come ready to play then your season will be over."

The Sailors (21-9), who finished second in the Sunset League, will play host to Ventura (13-9), who finished third in the Channel League, Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Loyola (27-1), the Mission League champ, is the top seed in Division 1.

Astor said he's fine with where Newport Harbor is in the bracket. The Sailors showed up once at No. 10 in the Division 1 coaches poll, but weren't ranked the week before the playoffs.

"I saw that we popped out when we are playing better," Astor said. "I try not to look at the rankings."

Sage Hill (14-2) will play host to Pomona (5-8), the Hacienda League's fourth-place team Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Cathedral (20-6), the Del Rey League champ, is the top seed, in Division 4.

Sage Hill Coach Dan Thomassen said his team has been practicing at a high level recently to prepare for the playoffs. Winning the league title has helped the team gain more confidence, he said.

Twitter: @SteveVirgen

Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World