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Trinity teams expect fight to the end

STAFF WRITER

Glancing at the early results for some of the teams in the Trinity League, there is already a “be prepared for anything” vibe settling in for the boys volleyball season.

Last year, Santa Margarita won the league title, with St. John Bosco and Orange Lutheran securing the other two playoff spots.

The Eagles return five of their seven starters, but have split their first four matches (defeating Trabuco Hills and Irvine, losing to Dana Hills and Foothill).

Mater Dei, which has just three seniors on its roster, has already won the Tustin Tournament and upset Redondo Union, the sixth-ranked team in the CIF-SS Division 1 poll.

“We had a great match Tuesday (against Redondo), we came out guns blazing and put together three great sets,” Mater Dei coach Pat Connolly said. “We started off (the season) with an inconsistent win, but we caught fire in the Tustin Tournament.

Mater Dei starts three sophomores, two freshmen and two juniors.

“The league will be competitive all the way through,” Servite coach Matt Marrujo said. “I still think Santa Margarita still has to be considered the favorite with what they brought back until someone beats them in league.”

The Friars advanced to the finals of the Redondo Tournament last week.

The Friars compete this weekend in the Best of the West Invitational in San Diego.

“We have a lot of character and they will fight all the way to the end,” Marrujo said of his team. “They’re very confident in each other.”

The top three teams in the league are guaranteed playoffs berths.

“You have to bring your A game in the Trinity League,” Connolly said. “We’ve had a great start and confidence is great when you have a young group, but we still have a lot of volleyball to play.”

ROCKY RETURNS

There is a familiar face is back on the sidelines this season.

Rocky Ciarelli, who coached Huntington Beach for 24 years before retiring after the 2008 season, has returned as the boys coach at Newport Harbor.

Ciarelli won three CIF titles at Huntington Beach (boys in 1993-94 and girls in 1996). He also led the 1996 girls team to the state title.

NOTES

The five teams that just missed being part of the county top 10 are (in order): Beckman, Esperanza, Mater Dei, Edison and Tesoro. ... The CIF-SS finals are May 23. The CIF SoCal Regionals will begin May 26, with the finals May 30. ... The Foothill Varsity Classic concludes today at Foothill. ...To keep track the action today in the Best of the West Invitational, visit www.bestwestvb.com.

Contact the writer: dcalhoun@ocregister.com


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