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Mira Costa girls’ volleyball storms back to beat Redondo Union in five-set thriller

The Mira Costa girls' volleyball team celebrates its five-set win over Redondo Union.
The Mira Costa girls’ volleyball team celebrates its five-set win over Redondo Union on Tuesday.
(Luca Evans / Los Angeles Times)

The Redondo Union High student section, sensing imminent victory against their longtime rivals, started chanting toward the dwindling number of Mira Costa fans Tuesday.

“No-more-Cos-ta!” they chanted, a handful of students gleefully waving opposing fans out the door.

It was 22-14 in the fourth set after a termination from Canadian transfer Addy Benefield, and Mira Costa’s Cam Green gathered his team for a timeout, three points away from a loss to Redondo Union. Wouldn’t it be a cool story, they laughed, if they came back to win?

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“At that point, we just didn’t have much,” Green said postgame. “That was all we could go with. You could kinda feel like, you get one or two and you never know, right?”

They got one. They got two. Then seven more in a row, coming back to take the set 28-26 on a monster block from junior setter Charlie Fuerbringer, leading to a raucous 3-2 win over Redondo (26-24, 22-25, 19-25, 28-26, 16-14) that somehow felt like an upset victory for a Mustang team ranked at the top of the Southern Section.

They scratched, they clawed, they fought — and yet Green sounded almost apologetic for the win, musing how well Redondo had played.

“We had trouble figuring out what to do, man,” the coach said.

Green estimated Redondo had outplayed Mira Costa for about 80% of the match. Junior Victoria Henkel had a standout game with 14 kills, and freshmen Taylor Boice and Abby Zimmerman formed a potent middle-outside combination beyond their years.

“We feel great … we just feel like we’re only going to get better and better,” coach Tommy Chaffins said after the loss.

But the win belonged to the Mustangs, who even in the first set found themselves down 23-17. But Fuerbringer, a setter committed to Wisconsin, took a spot behind the serving line and dropped in four straight aces.

There’s a reason most every coach in the Southern Section knows her name. After she packed a mighty swing from powerful Redondo senior Mele Corral-Blagojevich to take the fourth, her teammates seemed almost in shock — mouths agape, hands on heads, falling over one another walking back to the bench.

“We were like, we have to do this together,” Fuerbringer said postgame. “We’re in this together — we can’t play for ourselves.”

Big-boy football gets under way with league play in the Trinity, Mission, Sunset and new Big West Conference.

Fuerbringer-to-Wright is on the verge of becoming the Southern Section’s next Wade-to-LeBron. The setter and senior outside Drew Wright were again in harmony Thursday night, so much so that Wright somehow got a final-set kill off a pass from Fuerbringer she’d redirected from the ceiling.

Redondo Union hosted their own comeback in the fifth set, storming back after a 7-0 deficit, but Mira Costa simply wouldn’t be denied.

Other volleyball notes

--Vista Murrieta won the battle for Murrieta on Monday, taking down Murrieta Valley 3-1 (25-20, 24-26, 25-9, 25-17). Senior Claire Little, a BYU commit since eighth grade, dominated with 32 kills and four blocks. Katrina Catalan set her up often, notching 47 total assists on the night.

--El Camino Real stands alone in the most loaded league in the City Section, beating Chatsworth 3-1 (20-25, 27-25, 25-19, 25-13) Tuesday night to improve to 5-0 in league play. The Royals will match up with Granada Hills for their next test Thursday night.


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