In 28 years as a coach, Dan Glenn can count on three fingers the number of times he has received a red card during a Newport Harbor High girls' volleyball match.
Glenn earned the third one on Tuesday in a crucial Sunset League match against Huntington Beach. He let his emotions get the best of him shortly after the head referee gave him a yellow card in the third set.
The yellow card warned Glenn to settle down after he argued that a ball went out. The red card gave the Oilers a point and forced an animated Glenn to coach from his chair.
From his seat, Glenn watched his Sailors fall out of first place in league, as Huntington Beach won, 23-25, 26-24, 25-18, 25-21, on the road.
"This is a tough loss," said Glenn, whose team went into the evening in a first-place tie with Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos. "That second set, I thought we had some chances and we let that one slip away a little bit. Me losing my cool and getting a red card doesn't help, because now I can't get off the bench and kind of help [my team] out a little bit. That's my fault. I've kind of been doing this too long for that to happen."
Craig Pazanti, Huntington Beach's coach, said he never saw Glenn get red carded. With Glenn forced to sit the rest of the way, the Oilers might have held an advantage.
Much like Pazanti, Glenn likes to be up and moving around.
"Maybe it had an effect, maybe it didn't," Pazanti said. "Bottom line it comes down to the girls on the court."
Pazanti's girls topped the Sailors for the second time this year in league. The latest matchup went shorter than the first meeting in which the Oilers triumphed at home in five sets.
Glenn called the match at Newport Harbor one the Sailors needed to win. They begin the second part of league play behind Huntington Beach and Los Alamitos, which are both 5-1.
The Sailors (7-14, 4-2 in league) have beaten Los Alamitos, ranked No. 1 in the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA poll, already. They will need to knock off the Griffins on the road on Oct. 31 for a shot to move back into first place and have Los Alamitos defeat the Oilers on the road that same week.
Glenn isn't looking that far ahead. His team has a challenge at Edison on Thursday. When the two teams played at Newport Harbor on Oct. 8, Glenn said the Sailors were fortunate to prevail in five sets.
After the first two sets on Tuesday, it appeared Newport Harbor and the Oilers were going to go the distance again. The Sailors didn't start standout middle blocker Carolyn Bockrath, but it was due to Pazanti flipping his lineup at the beginning.
"It's a gamble because you don't have your best player in the game," Glenn said of sitting Bockrath, who went on to lead the Sailors with 19 kills and five blocks. "Carolyn understands that now [as a senior]. Maybe when she was younger, she'd be mad that she wasn't starting, but it's not about starting, it's about matchups. We want her hitting against certain people. In the first two sets, we were in the spots we wanted to be, but unfortunately that second set we didn't execute well enough and they beat us."
Things began to unravel for the Sailors in the third set. They fell behind early, and then trailed, 15-10, on one of Katie Lespier's eight kills.
Glenn didn't believe the outside hitter's ball was in. He loudly questioned it after the referee on the ladder overturned the second ref's original call, which ruled the ball out.
"Even though I have really bad eyes and I had eye surgery, I thought that one [was out]," Glenn said. "I was standing right next to it."
That wasn't even what irked Glenn the most.
"My problem was they were back to serve and our girl was back to serve, so two people had the ball and you can't do that," Glenn said. "We needed to be in serve-receive and [the referee] blew the whistle to go, and I just said, 'You know, you can't do that.' Sammie [Yeager] was back to serve. This [Huntington Beach] girl was back to serve. They both had balls. That's what I had an issue with. I wanted him to replay it like he should've."
Instead, the referee pulled out a red card for Glenn.
All Glenn could do was stay glued to his chair, while his players, Bockrath, Logan Grove (10 kills, 17 digs, three block, two service aces], Katie Duhoux (eight kills, six digs) and Ellie Hagadorn (45 assists), tried to rally the team on the court.
The Oilers' balance — Kendra Koelsch (19 kills), Ally Forsberg (nine), Samantha Brennan (nine), Cheyenne Rankin (eight) — proved to be too much for the Sailors to stop.
"I think we created our own problems, including the coach," Glenn said with a laugh. "I created some problems by doing what I did."