May 20, 2024

OC Sports Zone: Community First

Beckman battles against top-seeded Redondo Union, but loses CIF semifinal match

Beckman players, led by No. 16 Luke Morrison, the standout in Saturday’s match, line up for introductions. (Photos: Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone).

Beckman High School’s boys volleyball team put up a fight Saturday night against top-seeded Redondo Union, but couldn’t pull off an upset in the semifinal round of the CIF Division 2 playoffs at Beckman.

After Redondo Union took the first set, 25-20 Beckman evened the match at 1-1 with a 28-26 win. However, Redondo Union won the next two sets 25-19, 25-19 to move into the finals next Saturday against Santa Margarita, which defeated Servite in three sets.

Beckman (24-12) was looking to reach the CIF finals for the first time in boys volleyball.

“We ran into a better team tonight, we didn’t play our best, I don’t know how many serves we missed, but it was way too many,” said Beckman Coach Darin McBain. “But coming into this season, we looked at starting a freshman and four sophomores and a couple juniors and nobody thought we would get this far.

“I’m really proud of the way we played all year, we look totally different, we are so much better now than we were two months ago, it’s ridiculous, so it’s kind of exciting for next year too.”

To see additional photos, click on the first picture:

Junior Luke Morrison provided the spark for the Patriots throughout the match and had 11 kills in the second set. He wound up with 28 kills and three blocks.

“He’s obviously our go-to guy,” McBain said. “He comes through almost all the time.”

McBain was also pleased with the play of the team’s libero, Robert Linker.

“He’s a freshman and he has no fear,” McBain said. “He gets in there and mixes it up with anybody. Gavin Looney, our other outside, played great all year.”

Looney wound up with 12 kills for the Patriots.

The Patriots stayed close in the first set. A kill by Jack Frame tied the match 14-14 but Redondo Union (23-6) sealed the win with a point by Bobby Bennett.

The second set was a battle. Redondo Union led 8-5 on an ace by Cash Essert. The teams were tied 23-23. Eventually Beckman moved ahead 27-26 on a service error by Redondo Union before winning by two.

“I love that we pulled that out, going back and forth, that’s anybody’s set but it got us back in the match and gave us some confidence,” McBain said. “Unfortunately, about midway through that third set they broke open a three or four point lead that to be honest, we never recovered from. But credit to them, they’re a very good team. They got a chance to win the whole thing for sure.”

Beckman defeated Orange Lutheran 3-1 and Santa Barbara 3-1 to reach the semifinals.

“OLu in four was not an easy first-round match,” McBain said. “That match could have gone either way. I loved going up to Santa Barbara on the road and getting that one, that felt good as well. We felt we had a good opportunity tonight, we felt we had a chance to win and I think we showed that. We just couldn’t quite pull it out.”

Beckman had another successful regular season, capturing its fifth straight Pacific Coast League title with an undefeated record.

“We were one step away from playing for that CIF title, that’s what we’re looking for,” McBain said. “Our girls won one in the fall, it would have been super cool to have another one in the spring. We’ve never been to the finals with the boys, it’s at least our third semifinal loss, it’s probably our fourth, we just can’t get past this stage right here.

“We’re bringing almost everybody back so our expectations will be even higher next year.”

—Tim Burt, OC Sports Zone; timburt@ocsportszone.com