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Loyola Outlasts Harvard-Westlake

April 14, 1999|MIKE BRESNAHAN

Harvard-Westlake High showed why it's a top-notch team.

But Loyola showed why it's the top boys' volleyball team in Southern Section Division I.

After a fourth-game swoon, Loyola rebounded with a strong fifth game and an 11-15, 16-14, 15-11, 13-15, 15-11 Mission League victory Tuesday at Harvard-Westlake.

Two future teammates at Stanford--Curt Toppel of Loyola and Billy Strickland of Harvard-Westlake--led their teams, pounding kill after kill in the two-hour 40-minute match. Toppel finished with 38 kills and Strickland had 30.

Toppel came up with the two biggest kills of the match late in the fifth game off sets in the back row.

Toppel's effort helped the Cubs (10-0, 6-0 in league play) forget a fourth-game meltdown in which they squandered a 13-5 lead.

"I was a little concerned because we talked all week about closing the door, but you've got to have confidence in them," Loyola Coach Mike Boehle said.

Harvard-Westlake (7-2, 5-1) showed confidence in spurts, taking the first game after outblocking Loyola, 5-1, and scoring the final 10 points of the fourth game against the Cubs.

"We all got together and said, let's show a little heart here," Strickland said of the fourth game. "I think we're even teams, but that [fifth] game, they got the better of us."

The Wolverines, ranked No. 5 in Division I, received 23 kills from Jon Katz, but were short-circuited in the end. Stanford-bound middle blocker Will Curtis, who finished with 15 kills, only had one in the deciding game.

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