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By Steve Breazeale
The San Clemente and Dana Hills boys volleyball teams have a long and historic rivalry with one another. For the past 11 years it’s been either the Tritons or the Dolphins who have claimed the South Coast League title.
Their April 2 matchup had all the makings of yet another classic battle and after the dust cleared, with San Clemente claiming a 3-2 five-set win, the two teams didn’t disappoint.
The Tritons (19-0, 4-0 league) came into the match with an undefeated record on the line while the three-time defending league champion Dolphins (18-4, 2-1) were looking to make a statement in-league and stretch their win streak to five games.
After claiming the first two sets behind the strong service game of junior Christian Hessenauer and senior Bryce Yould, the No. 6 ranked Dolphins looked to be in the driver seat, not only to win the game, but to also have control in the league standings.
But the No. 1 ranked Tritons suddenly found their game as senior setter Jack Yoder dished out passes to senior middle blocker Garrett Costello in the third set. Costello recorded four of his 16 kills and had an ace in the third as the Tritons went wire-to-wire to claim a 25-19 set win. Yoder would end up recording 75 assists on the night. The Tritons also benefitted from six Dolphins service errors in the set.
“I just told our guys, we can’t keep making mistakes and hurting ourselves…so after (the second game) I was just hoping we could get our feet underneath us in game three,” San Clemente head coach Ken Goldstone said. “(Dana Hills) gave us a couple of points and gave us the lead and we got our confidence back.”
After the Tritons took the incredibly close fourth set 25-22, the Dolphins looked poised to take the fifth and final set after running out to a 6-4 advantage. Hessenauer and Yould combined for four of the Dolphins six points at the time.
Tritons senior Lucas Yoder, a USC commit, immediately took over, tallying an ace and two kills down the stretch, including the 15th and final kill to give the Tritons a 15-13 set win and complete the comeback.
“We just weren’t playing our game in the first (set). (Dana Hills) came out ready to play and just destroyed us those first two games,” Lucas Yoder said. “In the fourth (set) we kind of turned it around and in the fifth we just kind of played our game.”