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Santa Margarita Picking Up Speed


There were plenty of indications that Santa Margarita could be in for a letdown, but the Eagles experienced no lapses in their final tuneup before the postseason.

Santa Margarita, ranked second in the county, looked sharp in a 15-4, 15-0, 15-9 victory over sixth-ranked Corona del Mar in a Sea View League boys' volleyball match Thursday at Corona del Mar.

Nick Mauro had 12 kills and Matt Zierhut had seven kills and five blocks for the Eagles (14-2, 10-0 in league), who already had clinched the Sea View title and beat the Sea Kings (10-4, 7-3) in four games in their first league match April 22.

"You hope there is no letup," Santa Margarita Coach Eddie Rapp said. "Last season we went into the last match, 9-0 in league, and we lost to Newport Harbor. The guys didn't want that to happen again."

The victory virtually assured the Eagles, who are top-ranked in the Southern Section Division II, the No. 1 seeding for the playoffs, which begin Wednesday. Although the Eagles could be competitive in Division I, where they played last season, Rapp chose to put his team in its proper enrollment division.

"We're only 3-2 in the playoffs so it's not like we have a whole lot of tradition," Rapp said. "I knew we would be solid, but I just didn't know how we would match up with the powerhouses."

The Eagles played like a powerhouse Thursday. Santa Margarita, which has its only losses to Division I teams Edison and Los Angeles Loyola, showed off its depth and balance to dispatch Corona del Mar.

Justin DeBlasio added 10 kills and Marcus Skacel added eight kills and two blocks for the Eagles, who took advantage of the Sea Kings' sloppy passing and numerous hitting errors.

"If our team passes well, we can beat anybody," Corona del Mar Coach Steve Conti said. "We didn't do that today and Santa Margarita played well."

That bad combination resulted in the Sea Kings' first 15-0 loss of the season in Game 2 and Corona del Mar never recovered.

Blair Hoppe had 11 kills for the Sea Kings.

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