IRVINE – Bishop Montgomery of Torrance collected another victory over an Orange County seeded team in the CIF-SS Division 3 boys volleyball playoffs on Wednesday night with an upset of No. 3 seed Crean Lutheran in the semifinals at Crean Lutheran High.
Crean Lutheran led by six in the first set, but Bishop Montgomery battled back to take the set and rode the momentum to a three-set sweep, 26-24, 25-16, 25-18, that put the Knights in the Division 3 title game.
Bishop Montgomery also swept second-seeded Tustin in the quarterfinals and will play top-seeded Cypress in the championship on Saturday at Cerritos College.
“I have to tip my hat to Bishop Montgomery,” Crean Lutheran coach Eric Olson said. “I don’t think it’s anything we didn’t do. It’s just what they did very well.”
Crean Lutheran (20-12) and Bishop Montgomery (19-9) had each only lost one set in the first three rounds of the playoffs, and Crean Lutheran looked like it was on the way to handing the Knights their second in the first set.
The teams traded leads and ties until Crean Lutheran broke the eighth tie, 11-11, with a 7-1 run where Tanner Petchul made several key plays for the Saints.
Bishop Montgomery responded with a 6-1 run and tied the game, 20-20, on a huge block by Daniel Matheny coming out of a Crean Lutheran timeout.
“We made a couple of uncharacteristic errors that let them back into that game,” Olson said. “After the first part of that game, they played two and a half real solid games.”
After four ensuing ties, the Knights got a kill and a block by Ben Crocker to take the set, 26-24.
“He’s one of the best players we’ve seen all season,” Olson said of Crocker. “Their setter knew where their hitters were in those situations and (was) finding their hitters. Putting the ball on the net so (Crocker) hits high and deep.”
Bishop Montgomery rode the Matheney-Crocker combination through the next two sets.
Crean Lutehran battled to tie the second set, 10-10,…