Redondo Union senior Vinny Pizzuti and Coach Duncan Avery try to find a way to defeat the top team in the nation. Photo by Ray Vidal
Redondo Union and Bishop Montgomery saw their boys volleyball seasons come to end last Thursday losing to the eventual champions in their respective divisions.
Led by a talented senior class, Redondo (36-4) tied its program’s record for wins in a season. Two of the team’s four losses were to Huntington Beach, the nation’s top-ranked team.
After losing to Huntington Beach in the CIF Southern Section Division 1 semifinals, Redondo earned a fourth seed in the State Regional playoffs but once again the Sea Hawks were no match for the Oilers.
Redondo lost to host Huntington Beach 25-17, 25-20, 25-22 in the Southern California Regional Division 1 tournament committing 23 unforced errors to aid a team that didn’t need any extra help.
The Sea Hawks fell behind early in the first set and fought back to 13-8 on Lucas Lossone’s block but could catch the Oilers.
In the second set, Louis Richard pulled Redondo to within one point after serving two aces to make the score 12-11, but much like the first game, unforced errors let Huntington Beach increase the margin.
The scrappy Sea Hawks did not go down without a fight, battling the Oilers in the third set and taking the lead on a Dominic Cangialosi block before Huntington Beach pulled away for the win.
Seniors Vinny Pizzuti and Louis Richard left everything they had on the court and were proud of how their team played in their final high school match. Pizzuti and Richard will remain teammates when they attend Long Beach State in the fall.
Seam-Michael Cramer had 22 assists in Redondo’s Southern California Regional Division 1 semifinal match at Huntington Beach. Photo by Ray Vidal
Pizzuti led Redondo with 11 kills, Richard had eight kills and five digs, Sean-Michael Cramer recorded 22 assists and Tyler Bird had six digs.
Redondo reached the semifinals after sweeping host Carlsbad 25-20, 25-15, 26-24. Carlsbad was the fifth seeded team and San Diego Section Division 1 champion.
Huntington Beach (40-0) capped off its perfect season defeating Loyola 25-16, 25-10, 25-20 to capture its second consecutive Regional title. The Oilers will take a 64-match winning streak into next season.
“It was hands down one of the most successful seasons in the school’s history,” Redondo coach Duncan Avery said. “To sweep Mira Costa and beat Loyola was a testament to all the hours of hard work the guys put in. There’s no shame in losing to Huntington Beach which is the best team I’ve seen since I began coaching in 1997.”
Avery’s predecessor, Tommy Chaffins, said he feels Huntington Beach is one of the three greatest high school teams of all time and could challenge the 1996 Mira Costa and 1982 Laguna Beach teams.
Bird, a three-year starter, was named to the American Volleyball Coaches Association All-American first team while Pizzuti, also a three-year starter, and Richard, a four-year starter were selected to the second team.
It marked the first time Redondo has had a player named to the AVCA All-American boys team.
In Division 3, fourth-seeded Bishop Montgomery (24-10) fell to eventual champion and top-seeded Laguna Beach 27-25, 25-13, 25-23 in the Division 3 semifinals.
Blake Miles led the Knights with seven kills and a block.
Laguna Beach (29-6) defeated No. 3 Saddleback Valley Christian in the championship match.