The Cubs played against the Newport Harbor on their home floor in the CIF semi-final matchup. The Cubs enter the game with a solid 21-4 record on the year following a road victory over Redondo Union High School in the quarter finals. Comparatively, the Sailors are 34-1 on the season with the top ranking in the state. The Cubs look to defy the odds in front of the raucous home crowd.
6’4” Senior Will Campbell
5’10” Senior Nico Posivak
6’3” Junior Aidan Peters
6’4” Junior Luke Turner
6’3” Junior Henry Wedbush
6’5” Junior Cameron Lynch
The Cubs receive the first serve of the game, converting an easy hit off a pass to the opposite side for Turner. After a strong rally from both sides, the Cubs come away with the points off a smart tip that caught the sailors napping. The Cubs follow up the play with a tip from Campbell that extends the Cub lead. The home side then sends a serve into the net before Turner is able to force a block attempt out of bounds. The sailors then send a hit attempt of their own out of bounds when facing some scary-looking Cub blockers. Despite some nice hustle from Wedbush, the Cubs fail to win the next point. Peters responds, though, beating two blockers for the Cubs’ sixth point. The sailors retort with a hit of their own, bouncing one off two blockers before landing on the Cubs’ side. The sailor serve goes into the net but the Cubs block one onto their own side. Again, the sailors send a serve into the net before marking a kill to keep the score within three points. The Cubs work an excellent play to find Turner on the outside for a hit that beats two blockers and lands just on the line. Sending the serve out of bounds, the Cubs lose a point before Campbell spikes one off the head of the Sailor libero. The next play, however, sees Newport mark a kill of their own from the opposite side, following it up with a hit from the same spot. The Cubs then miscue a hit attempt and see their lead cut to just one before Campbell slams one past two Sailor blockers for the point. The Cubs get caught touching the net in an attempt to block before allowing the Sailors to record an ace on a serve that looked out of bounds. Turner responds to the tie by spiking one from the back row for a point. The Cubs then get blocked and the score is tied at 12. Campbell gets another one on the opposite side, beating the two blockers this time. Campbell follows it up by marking an ace for the two-point cushion. The next serve sails out of bounds before the Cubs send their next hit out of bounds. The sailors send their serve into the net but rebound with a strong hit from the opposite side to tie things at 15. Wedbush finds Mortimer uncontested in the middle for a sweet hit that scores. The sailors run a nice play in response and tie the game at sixteen with a hit to the middle. The Cubs then send a hit out of bounds and find themselves down for the first time all game. They then send their next hit out of bounds before Turner is able to score on the next hit. The Cub serve goes too far before the sailors get bailed out with a close call that sees the Cubs go down 17-20. The team calls timeout to regroup before sending another hit out of bounds, arguably missing a touch call at the net. The Cubs then give up a hit from the outside before finding Campbell for the score on the opposite side. The score is 22-18 when the Cubs give up yet another hit from the opposite side, putting the Cubs in a tough 23-18 position. The sailors then send a serve out of bounds to give the Cubs a lifeline before the home side sends their serve out of bounds as well. The sailors send their next hit out the side before the Cubs send their final serve into the net, ending the set.
The Cubs start the same lineup with the same six that began the game in hopes of rebounding from the early deficit. The Cubs had 16 unforced errors in the first set, largely beating themselves in the opening set. If the Cubs can remedy the errors, the team has a real chance. The Cubs open the set with a block that falls out of bounds, giving the away side the first point of the match. The Sailors then beat the Cubs on the same side with a strong hit for their second point. The Sailors then send their serve into the net before Peters marks a kill to tie up the score. Turner then marks an ace with a serve that just touches the end line for the score. Responding quickly, the Sailors find the same side as the previous two hits for yet another kill. Despite some strong blocking, the Sailors manage to score yet again from the opposite side. The away side follows up the hit with an ace of their own before the Cubs tip a ball out of bounds. Trailing 3-6, the Cubs find Turner in the middle for a kill that starts the comeback. Following the nice play, Peters makes some spectacular saves before marking a kill. The Sailors get back on the scoreboard with a from the middle before Mortimer responds with a middle hit of his own. After the hit, the Cubs give up another middle hit, followed by a hit from the opposite side that beats two blockers. The Cubs send their hit attempt into the net, forcing an early timeout from Coach Boehle with the score 6-10 in favor Newport Harbor. Thanks to some smart crowd tactics, the Sailors send a serve into the net before sending a hit into the net. A monstrous block from Turner cuts the deficit to just one before the Cubs give up a hit from the middle. The crowd tries the same tactic and again goads the Sailors into a serve that flies into the net. The Cubs give up another hit from the middle, though, and the score is 10-12 in favor of the home side. The crowd gets the Sailors to miss a third consecutive serve before the Cubs prove unable to contain the opposite side blocker. The team again gives up a hit on the opposite side before getting emphatically blocked. The Cubs send their hit out of bounds, falling to an 11-17 score line before calling another timeout. Out of the short break, the Cubs get blocked again before Campbell finds a hole to score the Cubs’ twelfth point. The Sailors send their hit into the net before scoring with a hit. The Cubs mark an opposite kill but give up another opposite hit before getting blocked once more. The score is 14-21 in favor of the away side before one of the Sailor players goes down hurt. The Cubs make a change after a block goes against them, barely falling out of bounds. Newport sends a serve out of bounds before running into the net. The Cubs send their serve into the net before Wedbush slams one for a score. The Cubs give up a tip before sending their final hit out of bounds after the referee controversially misses the call, drawing the ire of the crowd.
The Cubs come out with the same same six that started the game in the hopes of keeping their season alive. The Cubs receive the first serve of the set, losing the opening point after weak hands give up a hit from the opposite side. More weak blocking from the opposite side means that the Cubs lose the second point shortly before giving up an ace off a floating serve. The Sailors get caught touching the net, giving the Cubs their first point of the set. The home side then sends its serve into the net before poor passing makes the hit difficult for Turner, resulting in a hit that goes past the end line. The Cubs finally get something when they find Peters on the outside for a hit that bounces off blockers and out of bounds. The Cubs get caught touching the net before Newport does the same, leaving the score at 3-6 after the action. The next point goes to the Cubs after a hit from the middle flies out of bounds. However, the Cubs can’t get the ball over on the next play before getting emphatically blocked for another Newport score. The Cubs find Lynch in the middle for a kill that scores the Cubs’ fifth point. The team then sends its serve out of bounds before finding Lynch for a second consecutive kill. Turner gets blocked on the next play, made worse by the fact that the Cubs send their next hit out of bounds. The Sailors send their serve out of bounds before the Cubs make a change to the freshman Dillon Klein. Campbell blocks one on the opposite side to cut the lead to three before Klein beats blockers on the opposite side for more points. The Cubs send their next serve out of bounds but find Klein for another kill. Klein then records a block to take the Cubs within one on the scoreboard. The next hit for the Cubs lands out of bounds before the Cubs give up a hit from the opposite side. Wedbush finds Mortimer for a kill from the middle, but the Cubs give up another hit from the opposite side. The Cubs win a point after a long rally is saved by a heroic block from Wedbush. Turner then hits one down the line to take the Cubs within one before the Sailors hit one out of bounds. The Sailors next hit flies out, tying the game at 15 and forcing the away side into its first timeout all game. The Sailors come out of the timeout to send another two hits out of bounds, giving the Cubs a two-point lead. The third time is the charm for the Sailor hitter who finally scores out of the timeout. The Sailors then send a hit attempt into the net before beating the middle blocker for a kill that makes it a one-point contest. The Sailor attempt to dig Campbell’s kill falls out of bounds but the Cubs get caught flat footed on a tipped ball. The Cubs get blocked but goad the away side into touching the net. The Cubs get outmuscled on the next play and follow it up by giving up a point from an outside hit before the Sailors need a timeout. The score is 20-21 in favor of the Sailors with the entire season on the line. The Sailor serve turns into Cub points as Klein marks a kill from the opposite side. The Sailors catch the Cubs with a hit from the opposite side again despite some strong blocking. The outside hitter for the Sailors slips one through the hands of the Cub blockers to score yet again. The score is 21-23 in favor of Newport when Klein swings beautifully for a score despite injury. The Cubs mark an ace to tie the game at 23 when Peters is subbed back into the game to serve. A hit from Turner goes out of bounds despite some excellent play from Campbell and Posivak to keep the rally alive. Newport bounces one off the arms of a Cub blocker and ends the Cubs’ dreams of a CIF title.