A preview of the CIF Southern Section Division 1 boys volleyball championship game might be taking place Friday night at Newport Harbor High School.

Huntington Beach will play Newport Harbor in a Surf League match at 5:45 p.m.

It’s not a stretch to say it’s a possible Division 1 final preview. Seven of the past nine Division 1 champions have been from the current four-team Surf League.

Newport Harbor won the Division 1 title last year and in 2019. Corona del Mar won it in 2017 and ‘18. Huntington Beach was the champion in 2013, ‘14 and ‘15.

And of the past nine years, the two years in which a current Surf League team did not win the Division 1 title, one of those teams lost in the final — Newport Harbor (to Mira Costa) in 2021 and Corona del Mar (to Loyola) in 2016.

Boys volleyball might be the sport in which Orange County shines best, and not just in CIF but nationally.

“This is a hot bed for boys volleyball,” said Huntington Beach coach Craig Pazanti. “Look at all of the Olympians in beach volleyball and indoor, all the gold medalists. Baseball obviously is a strong sport, too, but I would put our sport up against any other sport.”

Newport Harbor is 20-1 overall and 2-0 in the Surf League with league sweeps of Corona del Mar and Los Alamitos.

The Sailors are No. 1 in the CIF-SS Divisions 1 and 2 combined rankings. Their loss was to Beckman, the No. 3 team in the Divisions 1/2 poll that has Loyola at No. 2.

Their top players include senior outside hitters Luca Curci and Jake Read, who were All-CIF Division 1 selections last year. Read will play for Loyola of Chicago next year and Curci signed with UCLA. Junior opposite hitter Riggs Guy committed to UC Santa Barbara.

“We’re a very balanced team that can attack in a lot of ways,” said Newport Harbor coach Andrew Mabry.

Huntington Beach is 18-3 and has league wins over Los Alamitos and Corona del Mar. Huntington Beach is No. 6 in the Division 1/2 poll. Corona del Mar is No. 4.

Huntington Beach’s Liam Phinizy hits the ball during the CIF-SS quarterfinal match against Beckman on Tuesday, May 3, 2022. (Photo by Jeff Antenore, Contributing Photographer)

Oilers senior outside hitter Liam Phinizy signed with Loyola of Chicago. Phinizy and teammate Jake Pazanti, son of the coach and a Long Beach State commit, were all-league first-team picks last season.

Newport Harbor and Huntington Beach play each other in a second league match April 19 at Huntington Beach, the final league match of the season.

They just might play each other again in one of the later rounds of the Division 1 playoffs.


It’s girls beach volleyball season in the CIF Southern Section and of course Orange County has some good teams. Six O.C. teams are in the Divisions 1/2 top 10, including No. 3 Mater Dei, No. 4 JSerra, No. 5 Los Alamitos, No. 8 Aliso Niguel, No. 9 San Clemente and No. 10 Newport Harbor. Redondo is No. 1. …

El Dorado girls lacrosse sophomore Mikka Oda has scored 67 goals in 14 games. University senior Kelly Tou has scored 57 goals in nine games. …

It was unlikely that any baseball team would go undefeated in the ultra-competitive Trinity League. Mater Dei finally lost a league game Wednesday, 1-0 to Orange Lutheran. Orange Lutheran’s Casey Borba drew a bases-loaded walk in the eighth inning and Lancers pitchers Jordan Cole and Nic Peterson combined on a four-hitter. …

Kyle Murphy took the Pacifica football coaching job because he felt it was the right time and right place for the longtime assistant to become a head coach, a job that long has seemed his destiny. He was a great lineman at Edison and coached there. His former Edison coach Dave White said, “I think Kyle’s really ready and excited and that’s how you want to go into it.” …

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Former Mission Viejo boys basketball coach Troy Roelen said he probably won’t return to coaching the Diablos now that Moe Golshani no longer has the position. After many years as an athletic director at Mission Viejo, Roelen might be a good candidate for the CIF-SS assistant commissioner job that will be open as Rainer Wulf is retiring there. Among Wulf’s responsibilities is being in charge of the CIF-SS basketball playoffs.