Saddleback Valley Christian stands tall at Foothill Classic
IRVINE The Saddleback Valley Christian boys volleyball is always up for a challenge when facing the larger schools and volleyball programs around the county.
Saturday wasn’t any different as the 10th-ranked Warriors wrapped up the Foothill Varsity Classic tournament with a 25-15, 25-17 sweep of sixth-ranked Dana Hills at Beckman HS.
Noah Dyer was selected tournament MVP for the Warriors. Jacob Pelletier and Jon Minsberg received all-tournament honors for SVC.
“I saw a lot of commitment,” Dyer said. “Knowing that it was going to be a long tournament, but knowing we had to put in work to get it done. We were committed to this long tournament. It is tough to give up your weekend, but they were committed to coming out and playing hard all weekend.”
Led by Dyer, the Warriors started the Gold Division playoff bracket with a 25-18, 25-23 victory over Long Beach Wilson. In the quarterfinals, they defeated Capistrano Valley, 25-15, 23-25, 15-6. In the semifinals, SVC swept Los Alamitos, 25-22, 25-21.
“They’re such a tight group,” SVC coach Ryan Van Rensselaer said. “They love going to battle with each other, they’re pretty calm and they know they can count on each other.”
Van Rensselaer said one of the keys coming into this tournament was to find some more viable offensive threats to lighten the load on Dyer. In the finals, the Warriors received solid contributions from Spencer Alden, Brandon Ketel and Trevor O’Reilly.
“Our setter (Minsberg) setter is starting run a smarter offense, much more diverse,” Van Rensselaer said. “Trevor (O’Reilly) in the middle, he’s starting to become a force. Brandon (Ketel) probably had eight-10 kills in the last game. It was a good win.”
This is just the first phase of a tough couple of weeks ahead for the Warriors. The three-time defending CIF champions will face Beckman (Tuesday), Santa Margarita (Wednesday) and then head to the Dos Pueblos Tournament. They’ve already faced Huntington Beach and Trabuco Hills this season.
“It is going to be a long week, but we want to stay focused and keep pressing,” Dyer said. “We love playing all of these top teams, like Huntington (Beach) …it is a new level of volleyball for some of them and they’re just eating it up.
Dana Hills defeated Mission Viejo, Esperanza and Foothill to advance to the finals.
Grady Yould, Jake Freeman and Thomas DeStefano were all-tournament selections for Dana Hills.
Foothill's Brennan To and Los Alamitos' Anthony Wong-Orantes also earned all-tournament honors.