Newport Harbor Boys’ Volleyball gets revenge on Mira Costa in CIF Finals rematch

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Newport Harbor made two visits to Manhattan Beach Mira Costa last season, and those losses have left an indelible mark on sailors.

In their chance to exorcise those demons, the sailors did just that, as Newport Harbor beat Mira Costa 25-20, 25-23, 28-26 on Saturday in the men’s volleyball southern section semi-finals of CIF Division 1.

The Sailors in turn ended the Mustangs playoffs, a year after Mira Costa sent the Sailors home in four sets in the Division 1 Finals.

Riggs Guy (5) of Newport Harbor scores a point against Mira Costa on Saturday.

(James Carbone)

“After coming here last year in the final, losing, coming back to this gym – this is the first time I’ve won at this gym,” said senior setter Cole McKibbin, who had 38 assists and an ace. service for Sailors. “Winning in three, too, meant a lot to me.”

Jake Read had a team-best 16 takedowns and 1½ blocks to lead Newport Harbor (24-5), who will now face top seeded Los Angeles Loyola (21-2) in the championship game at Long Beach City College. Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m.

The junior outside hitter hit the jackpot for the Sailors in the second and third sets, recording seven kills in each. Emotions were running high from both sides as the third set reached the final stages.

Newport Harbor's Jake Read (6) keeps a ball in play against Mira Costa on Saturday.

Newport Harbor’s Jake Read (6) keeps a ball in play against Mira Costa on Saturday.

(James Carbone)

“I think we knew how much [Mira Costa] is and they could come back if we gave them one set, and it could easily go to five,” Read said. “We wanted to make sure we didn’t lose this [third] settled so we didn’t have that chance to go to five.

Junior outside hitter Luca Curci had 12 kills and a block for Newport Harbor. Senior middle tackle James Eadie contributed seven kills and 1½ blocks, and second outside hitter Riggs Guy added six kills and a service ace.

Newport Harbor coach Eric Vallely said the history between the programs provided additional incentive. The teams also met in the CIF final in 2019, with the sailors winning this one over four sets.

Newport Harbor's Riggs Guy (5), James Eadie (26) and Luca Curci (18) set up a triple block against Mira Costa on Saturday.

Newport Harbor’s Riggs Guy (5), James Eadie (26) and Luca Curci (18) set up a triple block against Mira Costa on Saturday.

(James Carbone)

“I don’t think we’re hanging on to that, but it’s definitely a motivation for us,” Vallely said. “These two programs have been playing each other for decades, and they’ve been very heated battles for decades, so coming here and winning on their turf with going to the finals on the line is a big deal.”

Sophomore outside hitter Victor Loiola had 15 kills to beat Mira Costa (19-10). Senior outside hitter Mick Bakos and second against Stone Seligson each had six kills and a block, and junior setter Jason Walmer had 29 assists and two blocks.

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