Clovis News: Sports

Clovis West boys volleyball postseason ends

There were no tears, no gnashing of teeth after Clovis West High's historic boys volleyball season ran out of sets to play.

Sixth-seeded Esperanza-Anaheim was heads-and-shoulders better Thursday in eliminating the host Golden Eagles 3-0 in the Division I semifinals of the Southern California Regionals.

And both teams knew it.

"Hey, 35-2. How can you complain," Clovis West coach Bob McCarthy said after the program's best season ended in a 25-16, 26-24, 25-17 loss. "We could never get Esperanza out of their system, and they're on a roll right now."

Aztecs coach Isaac Owens bluntly, but accurately, sized up the difference, starting with a decided height advantage that wore down the Golden Eagles.

"We had too much firepower and too many weapons," Owens said.

Esperanza lost in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section playoffs, but after a 10-day rest regained footing and upset No. 3 LaCosta Canyon-Carlsbad in the first round of the regionals.

Thursday's victory sends Esperanza (27-5) to the championship Saturday against No. 1 Loyola-Los Angeles at Irvine Valley College.

"The regionals have been our chance to redeem ourselves," said opposite hitter Chris Hartig, the co-MVP of the Sunset League.

Hartig led the Aztecs with 13 kills, Chris Dreim had 10 and Brian Beith and Kevin Smith seven apiece. All-Orange County setter Brett Anderson added 41 assists to his big boys.

Clovis West was victimized by countless errors serving and at the net, and never could find its rhythm. Kyle Peterson had nine kills and two blocks, Jacob Schmidt five kills and three blocks, and Chris Wong 19 assists.

The Golden Eagles, ranked No. 4 in the state and 13th nationally, take from this season both Tri-River Athletic Conference and Central Section championships and the section's deepest run in the regionals.

"It's definitely one to remember," Peterson said.

Wong: "Everyone had an urgency to win and didn't give up on any point."

What McCarthy will remember most was how this team jelled in March.

"Did they overachieve? Probably not. This team really did reach its potential," he said. "I knew before the season they could be pretty good. Their strength was the cohesive way they played."