When Dan Glenn called his first timeout Thursday, he seemed as cool as Tom Cruise at the controls of a fighter jet.
After all, his Newport Harbor High School volleyball team had a cozy 14-8 lead over Marina and was only a point from winning its first game in a Southern Section 4-A semifinal match at Golden West College.
But by the time Glenn called his fourth timeout, his situation was more like that of somebody on a dizzying thrill ride that won't stop. Marina had scored six unanswered points to tie the score, 14-14.
"You look at Marina in the last couple games (in the playoffs) and they come back every time," Glenn said. "Once a team starts doing that they never quit. First games are like that--you score points in bunches. This was a battle."
Newport Harbor, the top-seeded team, managed to pull out a 17-15 victory in that game, and went on to sweep Marina, 15-11, 15-6. The Sailors (17-0) advance to Saturday's championship match against second-seeded Mira Costa either at Westminster or Marina.
The Sailors scored the winning point in Game 1 on junior setter Drew Sheward's kill. In the second game, Newport Harbor had to overcome a 10-5 deficit.
Hugh Foster and John Alstrom, senior outside hitters, led the Sailors in kills with 28 and 15, respectively.
"They were both tired," Glenn said. "But they've been here before and always rise to the occasion."
Newport Harbor lost to Dana Hills in last year's semifinals.
Sheward had 53 assists in the match, and Eric Pfister had seven digs.
"This wasn't our best game," Glenn said. "Tuesday we played our best game of the year (a sweep of Santa Monica). It's hard to win three matches in a row."
Marina finished the season at 18-2.
In the other 4-A semifinal match:
Mira Costa, 3, El Toro 0--Second-seeded Mira Costa defeated the Chargers, 15-5, 15-1, 15-10, in a match that lasted less than an hour at Redondo Union High School. Carl Henkel, a 6-foot 6-inch setter/blocker, made 10 of 13 kills and had nine blocks to lead Mira Costa (21-0). Outside hitter Eric Fonoimoana helped the Mustangs with eight kills, and Jeff West and Bill Ortgiesen each had six. The Chargers finish their season 13-3.