Harbor Netters Tuning Up for CIF

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Kevin Rakestraw goes up on defense against Fountain Valley, with Cody Caldwell, left, and Ian Sequeira ready to help. Photo by Jim Collins

The Newport Harbor boys’ varsity volleyball squad looked as impressive as ever this week as they swept the Fountain Valley Barons 3-0 and look to continue their success tonight.

After taking on Huntington Beach last night, the Sailors will face the cross-town rival Corona del Mar Sea Kings in the regular season finale tonight.

CIF play will begin next week.

This past Tuesday night was the last home game of the regular season for the Sailors as their last two games of the season are on the road. Tuesday night’s festivities kicked off with the celebration of five senior players who were playing in their final regular season game at home: Ian Sequeira, Todd Bates, Rusty Sary, Cody Caldwell, and Davis Brown.

Also celebrating the evening in his last home game of the season was head coach Dan Glenn, who has now coached for 25 years and 50 seasons for Newport Harbor.

Max Richey got the action started, serving for Harbor, and right of the bat you could tell this would be a closely contested match.  Perhaps the jitters of the afternoon got to the teams early as service and hitting errors plagued the beginning of the first game.

But Cody Caldwell took charge and received most of the sets hitting 4s and 5s, and even crushing some back-row pipe sets.

Rakestraw rears back for a serve to the visiting Barons. Photo by Jim Collins

Fountain Valley couldn’t find an answer for Caldwell or for Rusty Sary’s monstrous outside swings.  Harbor was tooling Fountain Valley’s blocks all night, but the Barons managed to hang in close tying the game at 12-12, 15-15, and 19-19.  The lack of passing caught up to Fountain Valley and the Sailors kept serving tough to go up 23-20 and eventually win the first game 25-21.

In the second game, Connor Leggett began serving and put up two quick points with tough serves, but Fountain Valley managed to sideout and get the two points right back.  The Barons relied heavily on their big lefty Bret Woodley who hit outside and opposite.

Sary kept the pressure on with his tough jump serve and continued to swing away while Caldwell did the same. Stellar back row play and passing from Richey and Leggett helped the Sailors pull away after things were tied 10-10.

With Harbor up 17-14, a long rally ensued where Fountain Valley caught a lucky break as a wild pass hit one of the raised basketball hoops and came back into play.  The Barons almost caught the Sailors celebrating the point too early, but Harbor managed to recover in time to win the point.

After a late kill by Kevin Rakestraw, the Sailors took the second game 25-19.

The third game was, unfortunately for Fountain Valley, more of the same.  Overpasses by the Barons led to several kills by Caldwell and the Sailors jumped out to a quick 5-1 lead.  The Barons managed to weather the storm and tie things back up at 8-8 due to hitting and serving errors by Harbor.

The Sailors took the upper hand by going up 15-12, but after a missed serve by Ian Sequeira, Coach Glenn had to burn a timeout to re-focus his squad.  Harbor then went up 18-15 due to some scrappy play and amazing digs and would not again relinquish the lead.  The two final points of the match ended with some passing confusion by Fountain Valley, and the Sailors had won 25-20 and secured their 3-0 sweep.

Tonight at 6:30 p.m., the Corona del Mar Sea Kings will host Newport Harbor in the final regular season game of the year.  Orange County’s second-ranked Newport Harbor team is undefeated against the third-ranked CdM team this season, but the Sea Kings will look to change things up as they head into CIF play next week, as well.


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