CdM stays focused, rolls to victory over No. 4 Beckman


IRVINE - A Pacific Coast League match Thursday against Beckman could have been the perfect time for the top-ranked Corona del Mar boys volleyball team to get caught looking ahead.

It was the Sea Kings' first match since an emotion-filled sweep of rival Newport Harbor on Saturday and their last match before spring break.

“That was a little concern of mine,” CdM coach Steve Conti said. “But I think our guys know how good this team (Beckman) is.”

The Sea Kings proved to be all business in the match as they defeated the fourth-ranked Patriots, 25-18, 25-18, 25-18.

“We played with some pride out there,” Conti said, “like it meant something for us to go out and play good. This could have been bit of a set-up match, having to be on the road, spring break looming.

"There were a couple of things that could have gone against us, but our team showed a great deal of maturity and poise the way that we came in here and battled on the road tonight.”

The Sea Kings (17-2, 5-0) again relied on a balanced attack. Brandon Browning led the way with nine kills, and Clay Dickinson, Mitch Haly and Jake Meyer added eight apiece. Setter Patrick Paragas had 37 assists.

Spencer Olivier led the Patriots (28-2, 4-1) with 10 kills.

“I have some good hitters around me,” Paragas said. “It is easy when you have two 6-7 guys and amazing hitters.”

Paragas played libero last year, but has transitioned to the setting position, where he replaces four-year starter Matt Ctvrtlik.

“We had some starters coming back, so seeing them when I was playing libero (last year) makes it easy to get connected with them again,” Paragas said. “I have to give my big dogs in the middle some chances and that spreads open the offense and allow my pin hitters to put away 1-on-1 blocks.”

The teams met three times last year, including in the CIF Southern California Regional semifinals. The Sea Kings won all three matches, two of them by sweeps.

“We were expecting to come out and play them a lot tougher,” Beckman coach Darin McBain said. “We scouted them, we saw them play Newport Harbor, we knew what they liked to do in certain rotations and where they liked to go with the ball. We sat down and talked about it, prepared for it for a few days, but we just didn’t execute it, plain and simple.”

The teams meet again April 20 at Corona del Mar.

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