The Newport Harbor and Los Angeles Loyola men’s volleyball teams entered the Southern Section Division 1 title game on Saturday night as the top two high school-ranked teams in the nation by MaxPreps.com.
The “no. Grade 2 sailors and top-tier Cubs have certainly put on a show at Long Beach City College.
Eventually, though, Newport Harbor put together a rally worthy of a champion.
Junior outside hitter Jake Read had the winning kill when the Sailors won 15-25, 25-20, 20-25, 25-19, 15-12.
It is the fifth southern section title in the history of the sailor program and the first since 2019.
To do so, the Sailors (25-5) had to come back against a team from Loyola (21-3) who had won 14 consecutive games ahead of Saturday. The Cubs, the top seeds in the first division, have not lost since the beginning of March.
But the n. The 3-seeded Sailors retreated from a 10-10 draw in the fifth set, with senior center blocker James Eadie posting one block and two late kills to help his team reach match point.
Mission League champion Loyola took control early in the first set. A serving ace from Dillon Klein, who had a record 21 kills, gave the Cubs an 11-5 lead, forcing Newport Harbor manager Eric Vallely to burn out the match’s first timeout.
It ended up as the most lopsided defeat of the Newport Harbor postseason set. But the sailors didn’t capsize in the second set.
Eadie had three starting blocks when Newport Harbor took the lead 10-4. And Read came to life, recording four kills on set.
The Sailors were never in the lead in the third set and Klein ended it with streak kills to help his team get closer and closer to the Division 1 crown. But Surf League champion Newport Harbor responded in set four, with successive kills of Read and Luca Curci who drew the game in two sets in all.
Both teams will compete next week in the Southern California Regional Championships.