By Stephen Ramirez
NORWALK >> This area has produced its fair share of dynasty programs. You can add another one to the list.
Michael Spinney had 12 kills and Damien High School won it’s second consecutive CIF Southern Section Division 5 boys volleyball title by sweeping Laguna Blanca, of Santa Barbara, 25-18, 25-22, 25-23, at Cerritos College.
Jack Mitchner had 25 assists and Daniel Enriquez and Marco Rodriguez-Fleishman had five kills each for the Spartans, who improved to 32-7.
Damien, which beat Arrowhead Christian for the Division 5 title last season, dominated the playoffs, sweeping four of their five matches, only pushed to five sets by Santa Fe in the quarterfinals. The Spartans are also eligible for the CIF State Southern California Regionals, which begin next week. The pairings will be released Sunday.
Laguna Blanca, slipped 28-5.
“It feels great,” Spinney said. “We knew coming into the season we had a good chance. I’m just happy we were able to fulfill it.
“We played as a team throughout the season and it really came together at the end.”
The Spartans used the same formula in each set — breaking away during the mid-point to close strong and win.
Damien, after falling behind to begin the third set, used a 7-3 surge to rally for a 17-15 lead. The Spartans, getting an ace from Mitchner and a kills from Spinney and Enriquez, then closed the match by winning six of the final nine points, including a spike by Enriquez down the middle that began the celebration.
“That’s how we’ve been able to play,” said Damien coach Randy Bohlmann, whose program also boasts four consecutive league titles. “In the quarterfinals, we had some match points against us against Santa Fe. We were able to withstand those and win the match.
“We were very battle-tested. I thought we played really well all day today. Our passing was good. We played solid volleyball.”
The Spartans used a 7-3 surge to break free from a 12-12 tie for a 19-15 lead in the first set. Damien then won the final five points, getting an ace by Nick Hibshman and a kill by Andrew McCarson, to win, 25-18.
Laguna Blanca, which got 14 kills from Philip Fauntleroy and 13 from Chris Costantino, scored seven of the first 11 points in the second set. But couldn’t withstand another Damien blitz.
The Spartans, getting kills from Spinney and Rodriguez-Fleishman, then countered with an 8-3 surge to lead, 12-10.
Damien, after pushing it to 19-15, then closed the set with a 6-4 run, winning it on a kill by Enriquez.
The Spartans then clinched the match by winning the final two points of the third set.
“We just found a way to push through,” Spinney said. “We were able to come together when it really mattered. The last two matches we were able to fullfil our destiny. It feels great.”