Huntington Beach, the eighth-ranked girls' volleyball team in Orange County, used its trademark scrappy defense coupled with some efficient attacking from the middle and defeated sixth-ranked Irvine, 15-2, 15-11, 8-15, 15-7, in a nonleague match Thursday at Irvine High.
Kelly Brockman had 20 kills, Serena Bountour had 11, and Marisa Aston had 22 digs for the Oilers, who weren't even at their best, according to their coach.
"I thought we were a little off," Huntington Beach Coach Isaac Owens said. "We're not that big, so we have to play at a quicker pace. But we didn't do that tonight."
Irvine, though, was even slower, especially at the start. Huntington Beach (3-1) won the first game in 13 minutes with Irvine (3-1) committing 11 hitting errors.
"We just weren't ready to play," Irvine Coach Mark Mednick said. "I don't know what it was. Against Laguna Beach, we won the first game, 15-3. Against Capistrano Valley, we won the first game, 15-1.
"This match we never clicked, they dug a lot of balls and we never had an answer for [Brockman]."
Irvine played better in the second game and took a 9-5 lead. Then Owens replaced his starting setter, junior Julie Atkison, with senior Amber McCarthy. It provided a spark, and the Oilers won 10 of the final 12 points to take a two-games-to-none lead and control of the match.
"Our setters are pretty even right now," Owens said.
Irvine's Jody Carlson had six of her 14 kills in the third game, and Jamie Witmer (12 kills), Olivia Waldowski (11 kills) and setter Tracie Browning (38 assists and 22 digs) helped the Vaqueros force a fourth game.
But four kills by Brockman helped Huntington Beach pull even in Game 4, 7-7, and Irvine did not score another point.