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Champs! : Loyola Earns Its 6th Title in Volleyball


Coming into this season, Loyola's expectations on the volleyball court were high. After a semifinal loss in the playoffs to Laguna Hills last year, the Cubs vowed to win the championship title.

Loyola lived up to its ambitions and its top seed by defeating unseeded San Clemente, 13-15, 15-12, 15-5 and 15-8 in the Southern Section Division I championship game at Cypress College on May 27.

The title was the Cubs' sixth overall and their first since 1988.

"This is unbelievable," Loyola first-year Coach Eric Wells said. "This is what we trained for all year. I'm so happy for the guys."

The Cubs were led by twin brothers Dan Farmer, who had 23 kills, and Tim Farmer, who had 17.

While Pat Klein struggled to convert kills in the early going, the Farmers picked up the slack.

"We always have a good team effort," said Tim, who also had eight blocks. "If one person isn't doing well, there's always someone there to pick it up."

The other major contributor was middle blocker Lee Bennett. Although Bennett had only 11 kills, his defensive presence put pressure on 6-9 outside hitter Gabe Gardner, who had a match-high 29 kills, and Corin Bemus, who had 22.

"[Gardner] was tremendous out there," said Bennett, who had six blocks. "He had the height advantage and scored a number of kills. But after the first game, our defense just [bore] down."

Gardner scored 11 of his kills in the first game as the Tritons (17-6) handed Loyola (22-1) its only setback in the playoffs.

But in the second game, trailing 9-12, the Cubs came alive. Outside hitter Pat Klein, who struggled early, had three kills as Loyola scored six consecutive points.

"I was a little nervous in the beginning," Klein said. "But as the match continued, I regained my confidence."

The third and fourth games were no contest, as Loyola's size and strength deterred the Tritons offensive and defensive scheme.

Klein had 12 kills, while setter Steve Dunne added 62 assists.

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