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Boys volleyball player of the year: Matt Ctvrtlik, Corona del Mar
Matt Ctvrtlik’s life has been about volleyball for as long as he can remember.
The first memories of the sport are of him with his older brothers playing with their father, three-time U.S. Olympian Bob Ctvrtlik.
All of the brothers played volleyball at Corona del Mar. Matt had the opportunity to play with Erik on the 2013 team, when Matt was a freshman.
“My dad never forced us to play,” Matt said. “He just said he wanted us to play sports and don’t feel any pressure to play volleyball. It just turned out that all three of us liked it and were pretty good at it and continued with it.”
Matt has spent the past four years on CdM’s varsity team. He led the program to two CIF Southern California Regional titles, consecutive CIF-SS Division 1 finals appearances and a regional final berth this year.
While he is exceptionally skilled, it has been his leadership abilities that have helped him develop into the player he is now. He will begin attending Harvard next year.
For all of his achievements this season, Ctvrtlik is the Register’s Orange County boys volleyball player of the year.
“This year, I trusted him even more,” CdM coach Steve Conti said of Ctvrtlik. “Even during timeouts, ‘hey, what do you think you want to run in this situation?’ He established himself as a leader with our younger guys especially. He’s always been very good about taking care of his own house and also being a guy that has started since his freshman year. He’s a very respectful person toward others.
“The longer I’ve coached him and gotten to know him, I realize that he’s a little bit of an introvert too, but it was really neat to see this year how he came out and became much more comfortable in the role of leader.”
Ctvrtlik missed the first 14 matches of the season while he recovered from an ankle injury he suffered during basketball season. He made his return to the lineup in a key Pacific Coast League match against Beckman. He finished with five kills, 29 assists, four digs and two aces in the Sea Kings’ three-set sweep.
For the season, he recorded 818 assists, 42 kills, 29 blocks, 68 digs and 19 aces.
“One of the reasons why I love that kid so much is that he’s humble and modest,” Conti said. “But he’s certainly left a long-lasting legacy here.”
During his four-year run as a starter, Ctvrtlik experienced a lot of press-packed moments on the court. When adversity would arise, he was able to keep his cool and guide the team toward success.
The last couple of years, CdM’s road to the SoCal Regional title came after losing in the CIF-SS playoffs.
“I think I’ve seen a pretty good amount of volleyball,” he said. “Just being through so many different situations and so many different times the same situation, I think I can be pretty poised out on the court, which is a good influence on other people and guys that don’t have as much experience. I think I bring a good calming influence to them because sometimes the game gets a little fast.
“I like to take it one play at a time. You have to enjoy the sport and enjoy that it is something fun that you get to do because it doesn’t last.”
ALL-COUNTY BOYS VOLLEYBALL
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