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SVC ties record with fourth consecutive CIF title
NORWALK – With another decisive performance, the Saddleback Valley Christian boys volleyball team secured a spot in the CIF-SS record book.
The top-seeded Warriors took control of their CIF-SS Division 4 final early against second-seeded Crean Lutheran on Saturday and never looked back, winning 25-15, 25-19, 25-15 for their fourth consecutive CIF title.
The Warriors (35-3) are just the fourth boys volleyball team to win four consecutive titles, joining Loyola of Los Angeles (1985-88), Santa Ynez (1999-2002) and Viewpoint of Calabasas (2005-08).
“This is a fulfillment of everything we’ve been working for,” SVC senior middle blocker Trevor O’Reilly said. “My first year, I was just sitting on the bench, laughing, crying and being happy for all of the seniors. Slowly over these past three years, it has turned into that being me (a senior).
“This is a huge team effort, every time we come out.”
The Warriors took their cue early from senior Noah Dyer. Dyer had six kills in the first set and five in the second, as the Warrior grabbed a commanding 2-0 lead in the match.
Dyer finished with 18 kills and the Warriors got 17 kills out of the middle from O’Reilly (10) and Brandon Ketel (7).
“All of my guys showed up today. That’s a big deal,” SVC coach Ryan Van Rensselaer said. “Noah was on fire, unstoppable. (Setter) Jon (Minsberg) set a beautiful match.
“Our strategy was to get Noah involved early, establish the middle early and then move the ball around and make their (Crean Lutheran’s) big blocker constantly guessing. I don’t think he (Minsberg) could have done it any better.”
The Saints (26-3), who were undefeated in the Academy League, were playing in their first final.
“It was a great experience for our boys,” Crean Lutheran coach Eric Olson said. “We’re just so blessed to be able to be here. We earned it, and we have to tip our hats to Saddleback Valley (Christian). They have a lot of great players, they played in a great system and they were on point.
“We scouted them and we thought we kind of knew what they were doing, but they really did it well and better than we could defend.”
Nate Browne had 10 kills to lead the Saints.
The Warriors’ first two titles came in Division 5 (2013-14). The last two have been in Division 4. During their streak, the Warriors have lost just two sets in the playoffs, and those came in the 2013 CIF final.
“Knowing that everybody wanted to beat us, always being the target, really helped us stay sharp mentally,” Van Rensselaer said. “When our weakness would get exposed, we had to tighten things up quickly. I had to work with each guy on their mental weakness or toughness and get them to know that the only chance we’ve got to play at our highest level is if each of you does their job, understand what his strengths and weaknesses are and help us become the strongest team out there.”
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