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Dyer, SVC look to end 'amazing ride' with another CIF-SS title
On the verge of a winning a fourth consecutive CIF-SS boys volleyball title, Saddleback Valley Christian coach Ryan Van Rensselaer remembered what things were like before the start of this memorable run.
“The state of the program was (an) extremely low level,” he said. “The biggest challenge was getting guys to buy into the pursuit of playing a high level of volleyball. There was no framework for them to have that vision before. I came in with the mindset of teaching what a high level of volleyball was. I learned a lot as a coach that year.
“When I got here, I needed to establish what their vision and goals were and merge the two and inspire them in this sport.”
In Van Rensselaer’s first year as coach, SVC went 24-7 and advanced to the Division 5 quarterfinals.
“The second year, we had some guys who bought into what we were trying to do, training on the beach and that wanted to play beach volleyball,” Van Rensselaer said.
Life on the beach has proven to be instrumental in the evolution of the SVC program into the current three-time CIF-SS champion.
“It (the beach leagues) helps develops skills,” senior Noah Dyer said. “Indoors is a lot about specialization in one area. On the beach, if you have a middle blocker, the beach forces him work on every skill of the game. It really develops you into an all-around player.”
Dyer and the Warriors (34-3) will attempt to win a fourth consecutive title today when they face Academy League champion and second-seeded Crean Lutheran in the Division 4 final at Cerritos College at 9 a.m.
“It would be a good way to go out,” Dyer said of the possibility of adding another CIF title. “I’m super proud of the way things have been going.”
Dyer has been another key to the program. He played a key role as a freshman and has adjusted his role throughout his years.
“When this senior class arrived as freshmen, no one had any volleyball experience,” Van Rensselaer said. “Bringing Noah in as a setter (as a freshman) allowed us to play a much different level.”
SVC won its first CIF-SS title in 2013 in five sets. In 2014 and 2015, both victories have come in three-set sweeps.
“As a freshman, I thought that team was better than expected,” Dyer said. “We had guys from different sports, none were true volleyball players, but we had a great coaching staff, teaching the fundamentals.”
Today, Dyer, Trevor O’Reilly, Spencer Alden, Josiah Howard and Andrew Ashby will attempt to lead the way to a fourth consecutive CIF title, something that’s only been done just three other times.
“They’ve all helped make the program more fun and they help drive the program,” Van Rensselaer said. “This has been an amazing ride."
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