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ROCK Athlete’s WIN AGAIN! Battle of the Bay


CDM Still Owns Newport

By: David Carrillo PeñalozaContact Reporter | Los Angeles Times

For one last time, Sam Kobrine returned to Newport Harbor High’s gym as the enemy. In his senior year with Corona del Mar, Kobrine keeps putting the dagger in the Sailors on their home court.

The sport doesn’t matter. Whether it’s the Battle of the Bay boys’ basketball game or the Battle of the Bay boys’ volleyball match, the player the Sailors have no answer for in the rivalry is Kobrine.

Four months after he hit the game-winning three-pointer to lift the CdM boys’ basketball team past the Sailors in the waning seconds, Kobrine scored points in a variety of ways on the volleyball court.

He blasted shots. He turned away shots. He dropped in service aces.

Kobrine proved to be unstoppable on Friday. The Sea Kings dominated the Sailors, sweeping them, 25-16, 25-17, 25-20, in the annual boys’ volleyball match.

The UCLA-bound outside hitter finished with 12 kills, five blocks and two aces in the regular-season finale for both programs. The outcome had no bearing on the seeding process for the upcoming CIF Southern Section Division 1 playoffs, but CdM made a statement.

Almost five hours before the start of the contest, the Sailors (21-7) earned a No. 3 seed for sharing the Sunset League title. The Pacific Coast League champion Sea Kings (23-5), who finished fifth in the final poll, looked a lot better than Newport Harbor.

“If Corona del Mar plays like that, [it’s] the best team,” Newport Harbor Coach Rocky Ciarelli said. “[CdM] jumped on us and we didn’t really recover. We just were never in the match. We just couldn’t make the plays.”

Kobrine and the Sea Kings made things difficult for Newport Harbor all night. The match lasted less than an hour because CdM served really well and the Sailors didn’t handle it very well.

Steve Conti, CdM’s coach, didn’t have to do a whole lot of motivating for this match because the Sea Kings played for the Newport Beach city championship. They claimed it for the third year in a row, giving the Sea Kings momentum going into playoffs next week.

The Sea Kings open the first round at home with Encino Crespi (11-9) on Tuesday at 7 p.m. If they beat the fourth-place team from the Mission League, which the Sea Kings should, the next round has them facing either Santa Barbara or Redondo Union on Thursday.

“We certainly would have a pretty tough road the way the bracket is set up,” said Conti, who isn’t looking past the first two rounds, but a quarterfinal match with three-time defending section champion Huntington Beach, which split the Sunset League title with the Sailors, is more than likely on Saturday. “But I think there are a lot of teams that have a chance to win it this year. It’s probably the deepest field I’ve seen in my 21 years coaching.”

Two of those contenders are CdM, a section finalist last year, and Newport Harbor, which failed to advance past the first round last year.

The only way the Sea Kings and Sailors meet again is if they both reach the section finals, and that’s only happened twice, first in 1999, when the Sailors beat CdM, and then in 2000, when the Sea Kings topped Newport Harbor.

Coaches from both of those section finales are still around, Conti is in charge of CdM and Dan Glenn, the head coach of the Sailors back then, is an assistant under Ciarelli. Glenn and Ciarelli looked stunned after CdM became the second program to sweep the Sailors in a best-of-five match this year.

The first to knock off Newport Harbor in three sets at home was Manhattan Beach Mira Costa on March 22. Six weeks later, Mira Costa received the top seed. The seeding might look a little differently if it were done after the Battle of the Bay.

“After tonight, Corona del Mar could be the third seed and we can be the fifth seed,” said Ciarelli, whose team plays host to Bellflower St. John Bosco (13-10), an at-large team from the Trinity League, in the first round on Tuesday.

The Sea Kings stood out that much to Ciarelli, whose most productive player was outside hitter Cole Pender (14 kills).

The player who is the glue to CdM’s success is Matt Ctvrtlik, a senior setter heading to Harvard.

Ctvrtlik moved the ball around, not only feeding Kobrine, but Kobrine’s younger brother, Kevin, a sophomore who added seven kills. Will Hunter and Brandon Browning added four kills apiece. Ctvrtlik also recorded four kills, to go with his 27 assists, one block and one ace.

“What you can say about him?” Conti said about Ctvrtlik, before talking about Sam Kobrine. “Sam was a man out there tonight from the service line, offensively, and blocking-wise.”

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