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Boys Volleyball

Laguna Blanca Volleyball Falls in CIF Division 5 Championship

In their finals debut, No. 2 Owls swept in straight sets by top-seeded Damien

Laguna Blanca’s Miles McGovern prepares to hit a quick set from Pierce O’Donnell during the CIF Division 5 title match against Damien at Cerritos College.
Laguna Blanca’s Miles McGovern prepares to hit a quick set from Pierce O’Donnell during the CIF Division 5 title match against Damien at Cerritos College. (Brad Elliott photo)

Laguna Blanca’s boys volleyball team looked to bring a championship trophy to Santa Barbara on Saturday afternoon.

The Owls, however ran into a tough Damien squad and suffered a 25-18, 25-22, 25-23 defeat at the hands of the defending champions in the CIF-SS Division 5 final at Cerritos College. 

“They were beatable but we just couldn’t get into our fourth gear,” Laguna Blanca first-year head coach Jon Roberts said. “ In order to beat a team like that, you got to make very few mistakes and, unfortunately for us, we made quite a few today.”

Despite another all-around performance from Pierce O’Donnell, it was not enough versus a powerful Spartans squad. The senior setter tallied 8 assists, 6 digs and three blocks for the Owls.

 

“Damien's a great team, and we knew we had to bring our "A" game to beat them and, unfortunately, we didn't play our best team volleyball today,” commented O’Donnell.  

Senior outside hitter Philip Fauntleroy led the Owls' attack with 13 kills and three blocks in the contest. Chris Costantino and Henry Farrell combined for 10 kills and four blocks. 

Laguna Blanca's inexperience showed in the first set.

“We are a very young team and not one of our starters had ever played the position that they were playing this year,” O’Donnell. “Today, that inexperience was tough to make up for.”

In the second set, the Owls jumped out to a 7-4 lead before the Spartans went on a 11-4 spurt of their own. Trailing by six late in the set, Laguna Blanca was unable to recover and suffered a 25-22 defeat. 

Damien continued to get effective play from libero Nick Hibshman.

During a back-and-forth third set, Damien tied it up at 20-20 on a vicious block from Michael Spinney. The huge play gave the Spartans momentum, which allowed them to claim the final set.

"There’s nothing like going into one of these championships and being under that white hot light,” said Roberts. “Now our guys known how that feels and can take away what we need to do in order to beat a great team.” 

Damien (32-7) rebuilt its team after winning the title last year.

“That’s a really good group they had over there and they outpaced us while digging a ton of balls,” Roberts said. “Today, we got outplayed by a better team and you got to tip your cap to them.”

Laguna Blanca (28-5) wraps up a successful season by reaching the CIF title game for the first time in school history. 

“From day one, our goal was to make it the finals,” Fauntleroy concluded. “We had a great season while making boys volleyball history, and making it this far was amazing.”

— Noozhawk sports reporter Blake DeVine can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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