CORONA DEL MAR — In quite a few boys' volleyball matches this season, Corona del Mar High has relied quite heavily on outside hitter Parker Brown and middle blocker Jack Reed.
While that was also the case in Saturday night's 25-19, 25-23, 25-19 CIF Southern Section Division 2 quarterfinal win over Trabuco Hills at CdM, it took a total team effort during the most crucial moments.
And that team effort will take the Sea Kings to another home match, a semifinal showdown at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. No. 2-seeded CdM (24-6), which won its sixth match in a row, will face West Ranch, the Foothill League's second-place team who beat Orange Coast League champion Laguna Beach, 16-25, 26-24, 25-23, 25-23. The Wildcats have currently won their first few CIF playoff matches in team history.
The CIF championship match is set for a time yet to be determined on Saturday at Cypress College.
Take the example of the end of the first game in Saturday's match. Brown put away a free ball for one of his match-high 20 kills to ignite a 5-0 run. Kevin Gordinier jump-served a back-row laser beam for an ace, then Reed put away two straight kills past the Mustangs' front row. Brown put away another thumping kill, before Trabuco senior captain Brandon Stoker mistimed his jump, his only noticeable mistake of the match.
"That's why I think we're such a good team," Sea Kings Coach Steve Conti said. "Others will step up when we need them. Parker and Jack did well, Parker only had one unforced hitting error going into [Saturday]."
Trabuco (23-10) followed the same team-centric attack toward the end of the second game to give CdM all it could handle. Tommy Hanson put away a block-kill, Ryan Southworth followed with an ace, then Andrew Samis' block cut Corona del Mar's lead to just 23-22. Southworth's serve landed a foot long, Stocker put away another kill for a 24-23 lead, then Reed's eighth and biggest kill that was fired straight down and hugged the sideline ended it.
"It was real important," Reed said of the complete team effort. "We knew we needed teamwork in order to win. Our passers did a good job. I had good sets from our setter, Joe [Ctvrtlik]. We had good touches on our blocks. Our back row did a good job getting digs."
Ctvrtlik had 33 assists, while his brother, Erik Ctvrtlik, celebrated his 17th birthday with four digs. Gordinier had three digs and Remy Lamons had two kills and four blocks. Thomas Hunter had three kills.
On average, Trabuco's key starters were nearly two to three inches shorter and were a bit younger. But they were extremely scrappy and got to every ball that was there for the taking. Stoker was a huge thorn in the Sea Kings' side, smacking down 14 kills. Ryan Anselmo added three kills.
"Sometimes we'll have a little lead and make a few unforced errors," Conti said. "That can allow them to get some confidence. We had 17 missed serves. They had some veterans on their team who fought hard."
EDITOR'S NOTE: Parker Brown was the Daily Pilot Male High School Athlete of the Week for the week of April 30-May 5. His story will be published next week.