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Servite's Hayden is boys volleyball player of the year
Creating an identity.
That's what the senior class for the Servite boys volleyball team did this season.
The Friars clinched their first league title since 1999, they vaulted to the top ranking in the county for the first time in the program's history and they advanced to the CIF-SS semifinals.
At the charge of this renaissance was senior outside hitter Madison Hayden.
"He's a great player," Servite coach Matt Marrujo said of Hayden after a 36-kill performance against Mater Dei. "He's taking more of a vocal leadership this season and he's like a big brother to some of these guys.
For his leadership, both on and off the court, Hayden is this year's OCVarsity.com/Orange County Register boys volleyball player of the year.
In the biggest moments, the Friars could count on Hayden. In a five-set victory over Mater Dei that clinched the league title, Hayden had 36 kills. In the quarterfinal victory over San Clemente, he had 34.
Hayden is headed to Stanford next year.
"Madison is a true volleyball player," Stanford coach John Kosty said in a release. "He possesses a good knowledge of the game and understands the complexities of our sport."
He was selected co-MVP of the Trinity League.
"It was our goal to keep building the program," Hayden said. "I think we've made improvements in each of the last four years. We wanted to make a push at CIF. Winning league was definitely one of our goals.
"We had a lot of goals at the beginning of the season and I think met almost all of them. One was to stay undefeated at home, which we managed to do, and making volleyball a much serious sport at Servite."
The Friars opened the season by winning 10 of their first 12 matches. After a loss to Loyola of Los Angeles in the finals of the Best of the West, Servite would win 14 consecutive matches. The streak was snapped when Hayden was unavailable because of the flu.
When he returned, the Friars would win eight consecutive matches before losing to Loyola in the CIF-SS semifinals, capping a memorable season for Servite.
"It was kind of a joke sport when we got there," Hayden said. "As the years went on, we started taking it more seriously as a team and then we started getting more fans out and the sport grew. Hopefully, we started a real tradition there that can keep on going."