WATSONVILLE — Aptos Mariners’ coach David Faz thought that his girls would struggle a bit after a poor practice on Wednesday.
He also knew that they would recover, and boy did they ever.
The Mariners took down last year’s Santa Cruz Coastal Athletic League champion Harbor Pirates in four games, 25-19, 25-23, 25-13, 25-16, at Aptos High School on Thursday night.
The Mariners (6-1, 4-0) have already done what they could not do all last season, beat the Soquel Knights and the Pirates.
The Mariners, third place finishers in the SCCAL a year ago, went 0-4 last season against the Knights and the Pirates.
The Pirates and Knights finished first and second respectively.
“It’s a big win, but I’d rather have the win with Lauren (Matias) in,” said Faz.
Harbor’s big hitter Matias left the game midway during the second set with what looked like a serious ankle injury.
The Pirates struggled after her loss and the Mariners took the lead back late in the set at 22-20.
Harbor took a timeout to talk things over and settle themselves. Whatever coach Matt Schutz told his girls worked.
They took the lead and the set by scoring five of the last six points.
“You really have to give credit to them,” said Faz. “They really kept coming after us when Lauren went went down. You have to admire that.”
But without Matias smashing balls into the hardwood, the Mariners were too much to handle for the Pirates.
They recovered after losing the second set and cruised with two easy wins in the third and fourth to win the game.
“We have to have an understanding of what we can control,” said Faz. “You can only control so many things of volleyball. If we pass up to our goals, and if we serve up to our goals and if we play offense, we feel like we’re unstoppable. It’s when we’re not focused 100 percent when we’re going to struggle.”
There wasn’t much of a struggle for the Mariners who have dreams of a SCCAL title and a trip to the Central Coast Section playoffs.
To make that possible the Mariners will have to continue their solid play through the rest of the season.
The Mariners have yet to play the Scotts Valley Falcons, Mount Madonna Hawks and the Santa Cruz Cardinals.
They’ll play Soquel, St. Francis Central Coast Catholic, Harbor and San Lorenzo Valley once more as well.
But first comes the Falcons on Tuesday at home at 6:30 p.m.
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