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Harvard-Westlake Toppeled by Loyola


Harvard-Westlake High's place among the elite boys' volleyball teams will have to wait. Again.

Loyola High, looking like a Mission League champion, made it official with a 15-12, 15-11 15-9 victory Thursday night at Loyola.

Stanford-bound middle blocker Curt Toppel, who burned the Wolverines for 38 kills last month in a five-game Loyola victory, was unstoppable again, pounding down 27 kills with only three hitting errors.

"When he wants to, he can't be touched," Loyola Coach Mike Boehle said. "He is the best player. I hate to put pressure on him, but he's the guy."

Harvard-Westlake (12-3, 10-2 in league play) outblocked Loyola, 13-6, but came up short in every other category.

"It was clear we didn't play defense," said Harvard-Westlake Coach Jess Quiroz. "It was also clear a couple of impact players jumped off the train and decided not to come out tonight."

Bill Strickland and Will Curtis, who have both signed with Stanford, had 13 and 10 kills, respectively. Jon Katz had eight kills for Harvard-Westlake.

How important was this one? Beach volleyball legend Sinjin Smith and UCLA middle blocker Danny Farmer, both former Loyola volleyball players, were on hand.

"Our goal was to win this match in three games, and we did," Boehle said. "Harvard-Westlake's a great team, but this was a big win for us."

In their victory last month at Harvard-Westlake, the Cubs (14-0, 12-0) held a 13-5 lead in the fourth game, but gave up 10 consecutive points and were forced to a fifth game. They made it easier on themselves this time.

Leading 13-5 in the third game, Loyola closed down after a small rally by Harvard-Westlake and ended the match on a block by Toppel.

Loyola, ranked No. 2 in Southern Section Division I, was actually the team to overcome a critical deficit on Thursday, rallying from 9-7 in the second game by scoring six consecutive points.

The Wolverines, ranked No. 5 in Division I, get a final chance to prove themselves in the Southern Section playoffs, which begin next week.

"They know they get a second chance," Quiroz said. "A second season."

Bill Strickland

* Stanford-bound outside hitter collected 13 kills.

Taft Wins: It took two games for Taft High to get on track, but once it did the Toreadors rolled to a five-game victory over defending- champion Palisades in a City Championship quarterfinal Thursday. Page 16

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