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Newport Harbor boys volleyball beats Corona del Mar in four sets with strong finish

NEWPORT BEACH — With just six league matches in the Surf League, Newport Harbor boys volleyball coach Andrew Mabry knows how important each one is.

In the latest chapter of the Battle of the Bay, the Sailors defeated crosstown rival Corona del Mar in four sets, 25-23, 25-21, 14-25, 25-22, on Friday night at Corona del Mar High.

The duo of outside hitter Riggs Guy (27 kills) and middle blocker Jack Berry (13 kills) combined for 40 kills as Newport Harbor (17-3) began league play with a victory.

The Sailors were holding on to a 23-21 lead in the fourth set looking to close out and avoid a potential fifth set when Mabry called timeout.

“At that point in the match, the energy was just high on both sides,” Mabry said. “CdM was scrambling, they were playing great in transition, running balls down, the match got kinda long and extended and I just said, ‘hey, let’s settle down, relax, we got an opportunity to finish here.’”

The Sailors turned to Berry to produce the final two points for the win.

“Jack came up (big) time and time again,” Mabry said. “Our sideout percentage with him had to be pretty high and if you look at every set that happened, he had a run in every set that really stabilized us.”

The Sea Kings led for the majority of the first set until Newport Harbor took an 18-17 lead and forced Corona del Mar coach Katey Thompson to call a timeout.

“Momentum is huge in volleyball, especially when you’re playing a phenomenal team like Newport and you’re in an emotional match like the Battle of the Bay,” Thompson said. “Definitely one of the games slipped away from us, we weren’t quite there.”

Earlier in the set, Sea Kings outside hitter Sterling Foley rolled his ankle after an attack near the net.

Foley stayed in the match and turned in a gutsy performance, finishing with 22 kills, but his play was affected after the injury scare.

“He was definitely limited in what he was capable of doing but he still produced quite a bit for us, so he definitely overcame that adversity,” Thompson said.

Corona del Mar (13-4) trailed by three points late in the second set, only to tie the score 20-20.

The Sailors went on a 4-0 run with a pair of kills from Guy and a pair of aces by Chandler Swanson as Berry got the set-clinching kill.

The Sea Kings were able to put it all together in set 3 with Foley, Everett Welton and Reid McMullen providing the offense.

“I thought we did a great job of bouncing back in that third set and capitalizing on their change in rotation as well,” Thompson said.

The two teams also met in the Best of the West Tournament last week with the Sailors prevailing in two sets.

The Sea Kings have yet to beat Newport Harbor in league play during Thompson’s three years at the helm with their last league win over the Sailors in 2021.

Newport Harbor will host Huntington Beach next week while Corona del Mar will look to bounce back at home against Edison.

 

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