Randy Angel

Boys volleyball teams prepare for playoffs in competitive Varsity Classic tournament [Updated]

Decrease Font Size Increase Font Size Text Size Print This Page
Redondo players celebrate their season sweep over rival Mira Costa. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo players celebrate their season sweep over rival Mira Costa. Photo by Ray Vidal

There’s a power switch in South Bay volleyball and Redondo Union has turned it on.

Having not beaten rival Mira Costa since 2006, the Sea Hawks completed a sweep of the Mustangs Thursday with a 25-20, 27-25, 25-17 road victory.

Vinny Pizutti led Redondo with 16 kills. Photo by Ray Vidal

Vinny Pizutti led Redondo with 16 kills. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo girls and former boys head coach Tommy Chaffins said he believed it was the first time Redondo has swept Mira Costa in both sports in the same school year.

Coach Duncan Avery’s experienced Sea Hawk squad was too much for the young Mustangs. Senior Vinny Pizutti had a team-high 16 kills and three aces. Four-year varsity starter Louis Richard had 11 kills, two aces and eight digs.

Setter Tanner Smith recorded 38 assists and five kills and Devon Burki, Dominic Cangialosi and Lucas Lossone dominated the middle.

Redondo (25-1, 7-0) trailed only twice in the match, falling behind 1-0 and 11-0 in the first game. Mira Costa (23-7, 5-2) fought back from a six-point deficit in the second game, hanging around to tie the score at 24 and 25 before the Sea Hawks tallied the final two points.

Mira Costa’s Carter Kimble goes for the kill. Photo by Ray Vidal

Mira Costa’s Carter Kimble goes for the kill. Photo by Ray Vidal

Redondo pulled away 20-9 before Mira Costa went on a four-point run to give the home crowd some hope but Richard’s kill ended the momentum and the Sea Hawks never looked back.

“Whether it was a sweep or in five games, a win is a win against Mira Costa,” Duncan Avery said. “Does a sweep make it sweeter? A little bit, but just the fact we get a victory in here with such a storied tradition of success. Of all high school programs, there are only a handful of schools that have had the success that Costa has had. It’s an honor to become Bay League champs. To do what we had to do in such a hostile environment is a testament to the guys.”

Avery was happy for his seniors, particularly Richard and three-year starters Pizutti and libero Tyler Bird.

“In high school sports, senior leadership means so much,” Avery said. “Costa is a relatively young team. At the end of a game after years of playing varsity at a high level, the guys tend to make plays.”

“Beating Costa twice after losing for three years is great,” Richard said.

Sophomore Lucas Lossone, a transfer from South Torrance, reveled in the victory.

“Sweeping Costa feels really great,” Lossone said. “I don’t know some of the pain the seniors have gone through so it was great to help them out. My teammates raise me to another level.”

Setter Tanner Smith recorded 38 assists as Redondo clinched the Bay League title. Photo by Ray Vidal

Setter Tanner Smith recorded 38 assists as Redondo clinched the Bay League title. Photo by Ray Vidal

Senior Devon Burki said he made the right decision when transferring from West Torrance this season.

“It feels amazing to beat Costa,” Burki said. “At West, we lost every set so coming here and winning is a great feeling. Every practice, we train so hard on serving and passing and it’s winning a lot of games for us.”

Redondo’s victory extended its winning streak to 19 matches that will be challenged Friday and Saturday during the 32-team Varsity Classic tournament held at Redondo Union, Mira Costa and South Torrance High Schools.

The field includes 16 teams ranked in the top ten in their respective CIF divisions. Southern Section Division 1 powers Huntington Beach (No. 1) and Redondo (No. 3) are the top seeds in the tournament as well as the top two teams nationally in the MaxPreps rankings.

“The tournament will feature some of the best teams in Southern California,” Avery said. “It will provide great competition as teams prepare for the playoffs.”

The Varsity Classic will be the second tournament in three weeks for Mira Costa which competed in the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara.

Mira Costa defeated Royal before pushing eventual runner-up and San Diego section power La Costa Canyon to the limit in a 25-22, 18-25, 10-25, 25-22, 15-12 loss. The Mustangs beat Bellarmine Prep 19-25, 25-17, 25-20, 25-12 in the 7th-place game.

Seniors Louis Richard, front, and Devon Burki celebrate Redondo’s winning point. Photo by Ray Vidal

Seniors Louis Richard, front, and Devon Burki celebrate Redondo’s winning point. Photo by Ray Vidal

Buchanan def. La Costa Canyon 30-28, 22-25, 25-20, 17-25, 15-6 in the championship game.

Pool play in the Varsity Classic takes place Friday beginning at 3:30 p.m. Redondo will host Pools 1-4. Competing in Pool 1 will be Huntington Beach (No. 1, Div. 1), Long Beach Poly, Foothill and Eastlake.

Pool 2 includes Redondo (No. 3, Div. 1), Burroughs (No. 9, Div. 2), La Salle (No. 3, Div. 4) and Oxnard.

La Costs Canyon, the top seeded team in San Diego Section Division 1, competes in Pool 3 with Valencia (No. 9, Div. 1), Aliso Niguel and Torrance.

Pool 4 consists of Westlake, Scripps Ranch (No. 2, San Diego Div. 1), Peninsula and Alemany.

Defending champion Mira Costa will host Pools 5 and Pool 6. Mira Costa (No. 5, Div. 1) will face Dana Hills, Otay Ranch (No. 5, San Diego Div. 1) and North Torrance. Pool 6 includes Laguna Beach (No. 2, Div. 2), El Segundo (No. 7, Div. 2), La Jolla and Santa Monica.

Competition at South Torrance includes Pool 7 matches with Oak Park (No. 3, Div. 2), Servite, South Torrance (No. 8, Div. 2) and Mt. Carmel and Pool 8 matches between San Clemente (No. 7, Div. 1), Carlsbad (No. 9, San Diego Div. 1), Palos Verdes and Oaks Christian.

The top two teams in each pool advance to the Gold Division to played at Mira Costa and Redondo, 3rd-place teams to the Silver Division at South and 4th-place teams to the Bronze Division at Redondo. Saturday’s action begins at 8:30 a.m.