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Mustangs keep it 'funky,' advance to CIF semifinals Phillip Brents | Tue, May 25 2010 11:29 PM

A sign in the Otay Ranch High School gymnasium promoting last Friday's San Diego Section quarterfinal boys volleyball game against visiting Rancho Bernardo implored the Mustangs to "keep it funky."

Whatever Otay Ranch managed to muster in the deciding fifth game against the Broncos, it added up to a win to carry the fifth-seeded Mustangs (29-8) to a history-making berth in the Division I semifinals.

"We just had to stay focused and keep our energy level up ... and rely on the bench," said Mustang junior outside hitter Nathan Allen, who racked up 35 kills to carry his team past fourth-seeded Rancho Bernardo (26-10).

The Broncos, who gave up home court advantage because of a conflict with the school's prom, won the opening game 25-20 before Otay Ranch countered with 29-27 and 25-19 victories to take a 2-1 lead in games. But the Broncos rallied with a clutch 26-24 win to force a fifth game.

The Mustangs, who sport just one senior on this year's varsity roster, prevailed 15-10 in the tie-breaker.

Otay Ranch drew top-seeded Poway (28-6) in Wednesday's semifinals, falling in four games.

Nico Pizarro had 14 kills in last Friday's playoff thriller while J.J. Olaogun contributed 30 digs. Nick Alegrado had 49 assists while Pizarro had four blocks and Frank Herrera and Omar Marquez each had three blocks. Allen and Pizarro also each had 12 digs.

The Mustangs swept visiting San Pasqual 25-20, 25-14, 25-15 in the opening round of the division playoffs on May 12. Herrera led Otay Ranch with 12 kills while Allen had 10 kills, Olaogun had 17 digs and Alegrado had 32 assists.

In the playoff loss to Poway, Allen had 11 kills and four blocks while Alegrado had 29 assists and 19 digs.

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