IRVINE — Summer Altice of the Fountain Valley girls' volleyball team stunned Huntington Beach with a blistering jump serve in the Division 1 final of the Saturn of Orange County Championships Saturday at the UC Irvine Bren Center.
But then the Barons made the fatal mistake of checking to see if the Oilers were still breathing.
While Fountain Valley was looking, Huntington Beach jumped up and fought back to a 12-15, 15-7, 15-12, victory in an All-Sunset League final.
In the Division 2 final, Ocean View defeated Trabuco Hills, 15-7, 15-3.
For the Oilers, Dana Atkinson had 12 kills and was selected the tournament's most valuable player. Julie Hinsche added 11 kills for the Oilers.
"[Altice] came out with that serve and it was blazing," said Huntington Beach Coach Rocky Ciarelli. "We don't see serves like that very often."
Altice served seven consecutive points, including three aces, as Fountain Valley took an 8-0 lead in the first game.
But then Hinsche stepped up for Huntington Beach. She had a kill, two aces and a block to spur the Oilers on an 8-3 run and get them back in the game, trailing, 11-8.
It was too late to salvage the game, but the run gave the Oilers momentum and they swung through the next game.
The Oilers' ability to pull themselves out of the deficit was due largely to their experience--they start four seniors and two juniors.
"Just like anything, you get used to [pressure], so you have composure. They've been around for a while, so they know what to do. Nobody screws up except for me," said Ciarelli, who was awarded a red card for arguing with the referee with the Oilers leading, 9-6, in the second game.
Huntington Beach took a 10-3 lead in the third game, but Fountain Valley fought back to within two points, 11-9. The Oilers scored the next three points after Hinsche and Lauren Wilson combined on a block, the Barons were called for a net violation, and Hinsche spiked a ball over the middle of the net to bring up match point.
Allison Ciarelli and Lori Daedelow combined on a block to win it.
For Fountain Valley, the problem had less to do with talent and more to do with confidence.
"You need to have confidence in your abilities no matter what the score is," said Baron Coach Lori Biller.
Altice and teammate Natalie Snowden each had 14 kills to lead the Barons.
In the Division 2 final, Ocean View broke a 5-5 tie and went on a 5-0 run to take the lead in the first game and never looked back. Amy Knebel led Ocean View with six kills and sophomore setter Tracy Lindquist covered the floor like a blanket.
"They are a good team. We didn't really do anything different tonight than we did [in previous rounds]. They are just that good," said Trabuco Hills Coach Kurt Walker.