Fryer: O.C. volleyball finalists prove depth
Six Orange County teams will play in the CIF-Southern Section girls volleyball championships Saturday.
None of them was in the final county top 10.
Five of the O.C. six are private-school teams, but are not among the county's larger private schools.
Whittier Christian, which actually is in La Habra, plays Chadwick of Palos Verdes Peninsula in the 2A final Saturday at 11:30 a.m. at Santiago Canyon College; Academy League rivals St. Margaret's and Sage Hill meet in the 3A final in the prime-time 7:30 p.m. slot at Cypress College; Saddleback Valley Christian plays Hemet at Cypress College at 9 a.m. in the 4AA final; and Orangewood Academy plays St. Monica Academy of Pasadena in the 5A final at Cypress College at 5:30 p.m.
El Dorado represents the county's public schools in the 1A final. The Golden Hawks play La Salle of Pasadena at 5 p.m. at Santiago Canyon College.
Eight teams in the final county top 10 were in the 1AA playoffs. All eight won 1AA first-round games. Two of them, No. 3 Corona del Mar and No. 7 Tesoro, advanced to the 1AA semifinals in which they were eliminated Tuesday, Corona del Mar by Redondo Union of Redondo Beach and Tesoro by Marymount of Los Angeles. No. 8 Capistrano Valley and No. 9 Laguna Beach lost in 1A semifinals and quarterfinals, respectively.
It was not an inaccurate top 10. Like in football and many other sports, the better teams are in the top division, which is why top-division teams dominate the county top 10s.
What these girls volleyball finals verify is that the county is very deep in the sport, as it has been for many others. In girls volleyball and in every other sport, student-athletes do not have to enroll at, or transfer to, a big-name school to get a CIF championship ring.
Taking a look around Orange County high school sports:
•The girls volleyball finals are the first CIF-SS events at Santiago Canyon College, which is in east Orange. It used to be the Orange auxiliary campus of Santa Ana College.
•The CIF-SS water polo championships Saturday at Woollett Aquatic Center in Irvine cover seven divisional finals divided into three sessions. A separate, cash-only admission charge of $8 for adults and $5 for high school students with high school identification and for children 13 and younger will be required for each of the three sessions. The Division 1 final, Long Beach Wilson vs. Mater Dei, at 7 p.m., and the Division 5 final, Glendale vs. Pasadena Poly at 5:30 p.m., is the final of the three sessions.
•Defense is the strong suit of the undefeated Mater Dei boys water polo team. The Monarchs' opponent in Saturday's CIF-Southern Section Division 1 championship game, Long Beach Wilson, is pretty good on the defensive end of the pool, too. The Bruins beat Loyola of Los Angeles, 6-5, in a Division 1 semifinal Wednesday, and held Loyola's high-scoring All-American Chancellor Ramirez to two goals.
•Mater Dei held Ramirez to three goals when the Monarchs beat Loyola, 11-6, in the championship game of the Santa Barbara Invitational in September. He scored six against Mater Dei in October in a nonleague match won by the Monarchs, 18-10.
•Mater Dei has won a CIF-Southern Section boys water polo record 78 consecutive matches. The Monarchs have also won four straight CIF-SS boys water polo championships. Wilson won five straight Division 1 titles, from 2001 to '05.
•Mater Dei has defeated Long Beach Wilson twice this season, 15-6 in September and 14-9 on Oct. 30.
•Long Beach Wilson won the CIF-SS Division 2 boys water championship last year. The Bruins and the rest of the Moore League were moved into boys polo's Division 1 this year.
•The CIF-SS Cross Country Championships are Saturday at Mt. San Antonio College, and, as usual, it is an early start for some runners. Boys Division 5 begins at 7:45 a.m.
•Dana Hills, which was No. 1 in the final Orange County boys cross country rankings last week, is in the Division 1 pack that starts at 8:05 a.m., as are the county's Nos. 2 and 3 teams, El Toro and Trabuco Hills.
•The county's No. 1 girls cross country team, San Clemente, is in the Division 1 group that starts at 8:45 a.m., as is No. 2 Dana Hills. No. 3 Canyon is in the Division 2 pack that starts at 10:05 a.m.
•El Dorado senior baseball pitchers Joe Record and Seve Romo did not have stellar statistics in their junior seasons, in which Record pitched 17 innings and was 1-2 and Romo threw 20 innings and was 2.80. But high school baseball players, much like athletes in other sports, are not recruited as much during their high school games as they are in offseason leagues and tournaments. Since this past spring, both were good enough to get recruited, and on Wednesday Record signed a letter of intent with UC Santa Barbara and Romo signed with University of San Diego.
•Capistrano Valley baseball has a fundraising golf tournament Nov. 20 at San Juan Hills Creek Golf Club. Go to capistranovalleybaseball.com and click on the "golf tournament" link for more information.
•El Toro will get an on-campus football stadium. The Saddleback Valley Unified School District trustees Tuesday unanimously approved the installation of bleachers and lights that will create a stadium for football, track and field, lacrosse and soccer.
•Laguna Beach is enjoying one of the better football seasons in the school's 78 years. The Breakers are 10-0-1 going into Friday's game against Northwood at Irvine High. They tied the school football record for single-season victories, with their 1968, '87 and 2011 teams having won 10 games, and a victory over Northwood would send Laguna Beach to its first CIF-SS football championship game since 1952.
•First games are Monday for the winter sports of boys and girls basketball, girls water polo, wrestling and boys and girls soccer.
•CIF-SS boys and girls championship basketball games will be at Anaheim Convention Center and Mater Dei, Feb. 27-March 2. No, smart aleck, having CIF-SS finals at Mater Dei was not part of the CIF-Mater Dei settlement, for which a dismissal hearing is scheduled for Jan. 7. CIF-SS basketball finals have been at Mater Dei for a few years.