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Boys volleyball coach of the year: Steve Conti, Corona del Mar
One of the old clichés from coaches is the goal to have the team playing its best at the end of the season.
For the Corona del Mar boys volleyball, there isn’t anything cliché about that; it has become a way of life and Coach Steve Conti.
With so many players participating in winter sports, it usually takes the CdM boys volleyball team some time to start looking like the championship contender that some have come to expect.
This season was no different, with four players playing basketball and one, Matt Ctvrtlik, suffering an injury.
“We had lost some good seniors last year that had been up here (on varsity) for three years,” Conti said. “What I told them, with a bunch of guys coming from basketball late and Will (Hunter) coming from soccer late and then Matt going down with a sprained ankle (in basketball), I had to have a fair amount of trust in the younger guys. Our goal was to come every single day and try and get better.”
For his leadership through this season, Conti has been selected as the Register’s Orange County boys volleyball coach of the year.
The beginning of the season was rough for CdM, which finished 15th in the Best of the West Invitational. The momentum started to turn the following weekend as CdM won the Orange County Championships.
“Our older guys, by playing in that championship match (last year) and falling a little bit short, I knew they were going to come in hungry,” Conti said. “I knew they were going to come to work every single day. To get our younger guys focused on just not what our end goal was, but the process, to come in and try and get better every day and to try to be your best when your best is needed.
“I think we were able to sustain that in several matches this year.”
The biggest challenge facing the team was weathering the storm until Ctvrtlik was healthy to get back on the court. He suffered an ankle injury during basketball season and he was forced to miss the first 14 matches of the season.
Shane Gooding and Patrick Paragas split the setting duties until Ctvrtlik returned. From there, the second half of the season saw the Sea Kings clinch another Pacific Coast League title and advance to the finals of the CIF-SS Division 1 and CIF SoCal Regional playoffs.
“Some of the most memorable things about the season is being able to get to both championships matches,” Conti said. “Even though we fell a little bit short, there’s no other team that was able to accomplish that this year.”
ALL-COUNTY BOYS VOLLEYBALL
- All-County boys volleyball: First team
- Boys volleyball player of the year: Matt Ctvrtlik, Corona del Mar
- Boys volleyball coach of the year: Steve Conti, Corona del Mar
- All-County boys volleyball: Second and Third Teams
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