It took awhile but Mira Costa High’s boys’ volleyball team got its match and went on to roll over Valencia, 25-13, 25-12, for its second consecutive Redondo Tournament crown last Saturday at Mira Costa High.
After a rather brief sluggish start, the Mustangs went on to sweep Anaheim Servite, 27-25, 25-14; Westlake, 25-9, 25-14, and Dana Hills, 25-17, 25-17, to advance to the final but it took approximately 2 1/2 hours to wait since there were numerous close matches at Redondo.
After the long wait that saw Mira Costa players spending time practicing for the final in the quiet gymnasium, it was Valencia that came off three wins, two of those in very close split 2-1 sets, and took the 2 1/2-mile trip from Redondo to Mira Costa to try its luck at the Mustangs, ranked No. 1 in CIF-Southern Section Division I and California.
The Vikings, ranked third in CIF-Southern Section Division II, only very briefly were able to compete with Mira Costa and the Mustangs finally overpowered them in two easy sets. The Mustangs, who are 27-1 overall and unbeaten in the very highly competitive Bay League at 6-0 entering this week’s showdowns with their top two opponents (third place Redondo tonight and second place Palos Verdes on Thursday in home matches), clinched the match and the championship on an ace serve by Kyle Burgoyne.
Six-foot-5 middle senior blocker-outside hitter Eric Mochalski, who will be playing at Stanford University next season, led Mira Costa with 30 kills and 11 blocks on Saturday. Kevin Donohue added 21 kills and nine blocks and Jace Olsen contributed 20 kills and seven blocks. D.J. White had 16 kills and Davis Waddell tallied nine and six blocks. Michael Beals blocked eight spike attempts in the Mustangs’ very balanced attack.
“This was our second tournament title,” Mira Costa co-coach Sean Shoptaw, who played on the Mustangs’ 1996 national championship squad as a junior, said. “Against Servite, we were still asleep. From there, we played our game. We were very tough.”
It was also the second tournament crown for Mira Costa. A few weeks ago, the Mustangs captured the highly prestigious Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions. Mira Costa had just one loss in the Del Mar Torrey Pines Best of the West Classic against Panahou of Honolulu, Hawaii, U.S. President Barrack Obama’s alma mater. The Mustangs placed third in that tournament.
In pool play last Friday at Mira Costa, the Mustangs recorded sweeps over Torrance Bishop Montgomery (25-14, 25-20), Torrance (25-10, 25-17) and Rancho Bernardo (25-13, 25-17).
This week, Mira Costa finishes the Bay League with two brutal matches against Redondo tonight at 7 p.m. and Thursday at 5:15 p.m. against Palos Verdes. Earlier this season, the Mustangs swept the Sea Hawks but in three very close games at Redondo on April 8. At Palos Verdes on April 13, Mira Costa defeated the Sea Kings in four games. The always highly touted Mustangs have an astounding eight Major College scholarship players, while P.V. has five. The Sea Hawks, who have no player over 6-feet-5, are always scrappy with mostly juniors. Next season, Redondo could be looking at a team matchable to its CIF-Southern Section finalist squads of 1999 and 2006, when the Sea Hawks were head coached by the legendary Tommy Chaffins (still head girls’ volleyball mentor at Redondo).
After going unbeaten in their pool on Friday, the Sea Hawks struggled on Saturday. Redondo lost a thrilling split set match to Valencia, 25-23, 22-25, 17-15, in the Gold Division quarterfinals. In the second round, head Sea Hawk coach Duncan Avery used predominanty reserves and junior varsity players as Redondo fell to Rancho Bernardo, 25-16, 25-22. The Sea Hawks also played mostly reserves in their seventh place contest against Santa Ana Foothill but topped the Knights, 25-19, 25-22, for their 20th victory of the season. It was the first time since the finalist squad of four years ago (lost to Huntington Beach Edison in three close games) that Redondo won, at least, 20 matches and the first for Avery since he took over from Chaffins midway in the 2007 season. The Sea Hawks are 20-10 entering tonight’s Bay League match against rival Mira Costa. Redondo won a school record 32 matches against seven losses in 2006. That squad was led by current Association of Volleyball Professionals beach and current University of Southern California player Joey Dykstra and setter Anthony Spittle, who is now in his final season at last year’s national champion UC Irvine.
On Saturday, Redondo had 18 kills in three matches by junior opposite hitter Ryan Mather. Junior outside hitter Brandon Hiehle contributed 12 kills and sophomore setter Andy Price had 38 kills.
In pool play last Friday, the Sea Hawks had sweeps over La Jolla (25-18, 25-23), Beverly Hills (25-15, 25-4) and Oak Park (25-17, 25-21). Junior outside hitters Riley Theunissen (31 kills and 15 digs) and Ryan Olson (28 kills and 19 digs) keyed Redondo. Setter Michael Vellatato (the Sea Hawks’ only senior starter) helped out with 61 assists in the three matches.
The Sea Hawks, who are in third place in Bay action at 3-3, close their league at Rolling Hills Estates Peninsula Thursday at 4:30 p.m.
Bishop Montgomery from Torrance, which leads the Del Rey League with a 8-0 record, finished third in the Silver Division by sweeping La Jolla, 25-13, 25-17, last Saturday at South Torrance High. The Knights started Saturday by winning in two games over Arcadia, 25-21, 25-17, but lost to Carlsbad, 25-23, 25-13.
Chris Happell sparked the Knights (18-10 overall) with 29 kills and eight blocks in the three matches. Danny Geber had 16 kills and setter Leone Legaspi tallied 85 assists.
In Friday’s matches, Bishop Montgomery won just one of three, sweeping Torrance, 25-22, 26-24. The Knights fell to Mira Costa and to Rancho Bernardo, 25-19, 25-18.
In Del Rey League action Monday at Bishop Montgomery, the Knights swept La Puente Bishop Amat, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19.
South Torrance went 1-2 in its pool on Friday and took fifth place in the Silver Division. The Spartans lost their first match to Moore League power Long Beach Wilson, 25-19, 25-14, but won the next match, then rallied to top Oxnard, 17-25, 25-15, 15-11.
South is led by returning two-time all-CIF Division IV outside hitter Ryan Muzick.