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Girls volleyball coach of the year: Craig Moothart, Trabuco Hills
A few years ago, Trabuco Hills girls volleyball coach Craig Moothart took a risk and hoped it would pay off down the line.
Moothart let a group of underclassmen get an on-court learning experience at the varsity level. Not surprisingly, the Mustangs took their bumps and bruises that season.
Last year, the Mustangs started to see positive results. They finished second in the Sea View League and advanced to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1A playoffs.
Now loaded with talent and experience, the Mustangs set higher goals for the 2015 season. They wound up exceeding everyone’s expectations. They earned a share of the Sea View League title and captured the program’s first CIF-SS title. They finished the year by advancing to the CIF Division I Southern California Regional final.
“Few years ago, it wasn’t that fun,” Moothart said of watching the team struggle in the 2013 season. “Sometimes you have to pay your dues and take some chances, and I’m very fortunate that the kids we decided to take chances on stuck with it through the tough times and then wanted to pursue to get better and it resulted in a very successful and fun season.”
For his leadership and guidance through the season, Moothart is the Register’s girls volleyball coach of the year.
2015 All-County girls volleyball:
This year’s senior class, which includes the Register’s player of the year, Allison Kantor, and juniors Shawnee De Oliveira and Jillian Wheaton were the group that laid the foundation for this year’s memorable season.
The seniors were sophomores when they first reached the varsity level and De Oliveira and Wheaton were freshmen.
“The reason I took over the girls (coaching) was I just wanted to see some happier faces on campus,” Moothart said. “This year was definitely one of them.”
This year didn’t come without its bumps in the road, most noticeably an Oct. 22 match against Aliso Niguel. The Mustangs went into that match with just two losses, and only one in the best-of-five format, but they were dealt a three-set loss.
“We came out with a lot of energy, but we made a ton of mistakes,” Motthart said of that match. “We looked at it on film and we had each one of the girls count up the mistakes we made. It was 12, 15 … If we could cut down on our mistakes, we could play with that team.
“Our girls walked out of that meeting inspired. The next time, we had some good preparation for them and it all came together and we beat them in three. The (students) rushed the court and we clinched our first co-league championship. It validated all of our hard work.”
The rest is Trabuco Hills history.
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