Overpowered by a strong hitting game of No. 1 seeded Mira Costa High School, Newport Harbor was eliminated Thursday night in a girls' 5-A volleyball semifinal match, 15-13, 15-12, 15-11, at Laguna Beach High School.
Though taking commanding leads in each game, the Sailors couldn't stop the Mustangs' effective rallies.
"It was such a tough match, but we just couldn't shut the door," said Dan Glenn, Newport Harbor coach. "If we could've gotten one game off of them, I know it would've cracked the door for us to win. We had our chances, but they're a great team."
In the first game, Newport Harbor led, 10-6, until Mira Costa's long string of kills and dinks tied the game at 10-10. Mira Costa's Karrie Trieschmann and Megan McAllister hit past Newport Harbor's blocking for three straight kills and McAllister's fake dink scored the game point.
In the second game, Newport led, 11-4, but again Trieschmann and McAllister's hitting proved too much for the Sailors. After a net violation against Newport and two more kills, Mira Costa won when Jenny Evans missed a dink at game point.
Newport Harbor built a 10-4 lead in game three, but it still couldn't win a game. The Mustangs overtook Newport with another set of kills and won the match when the Sailors' Sara Allison missed a dink at match point.
Mira Costa is 21-0 this season and 48-0 over two years. The Mustangs are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by Volleyball Monthly magazine.
"Newport played a great game," said Dae Lea Aldrich, Mira Costa coach. "But we're a patient team. When they were down, they knew to stay calm. I don't think the word 'choke' is in their vocabulary."
Senior captain Tracy Krueger and junior Evans provided much of the power for Newport Harbor's offense. Krueger led the team with 12 kills; Evans had 10, including 5 in game two.
"The whole team played great," Glenn said. "We played the best we have all season. But it's just one of those things."
In other 5-A semifinal action:
Hueneme 3, Woodbridge 0--The second-seeded Vikings beat the third-seeded Warriors, 15-7, 15-8, 15-10, at Irvine High School to advance to Saturday's championship match against Mira Costa.
In 4-A semifinal action:
Irvine 3, Marymount 0--The Vaqueros defeated the Sailors, 15-3, 15-10, 16-14, at Brentwood High School to advance to Saturday's final, where they will play Gahr.
Gahr 3, Capistrano Valley 2--The Gladiators, who upset top-seeded Torrance in the quarterfinals, came back to defeat the Cougars, 13-15, 15-13, 15-7, 8-15, 15-11, at Artesia High School.
In 3-A semifinal action:
Calabasas 3, Sunny Hills 1--The Coyotes upset the second-seeded Lancers, 15-9, 17-15, 2-15, 15-8, at Agoura High School to advance to Saturday's title match.
In 2-A action
Thousand Oaks 3, Western 1--The Lancers defeated the Pioneers, 11-15, 15-4, 15-13, 15-12, at Cypress High School to advance to the championship match.