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Tesoro's Polk is 2012 girls volleyball coach of the year
The 2012 season provided the Tesoro girls volleyball team with a new set of challenges.
After a successful 2011 — the Titans won the Sea View League title for the first time and made a run to the semifinals in the CIF-SS Division 2AA playoffs — Tesoro was moved up to the ultra-competitive Division 1AA for the playoffs this season.
“We knew we had a good group coming back this year,” Tesoro coach Rich Polk said. “We went to the semifinals of 2AA and lost to St. Lucy's, and I think that was a turning point for us. We thought we could build on that success, so we worked real hard in the summer and through the fall, and we thought we would be one of the better teams in the county.”
The Titans proved to be one of the better teams in the county.
They advanced to the semifinals of the Dave Mohs Championships, finished second in the South Coast League and advanced to the CIF-SS 1AA semifinals, losing to eventual CIF and State champion Marymount of Los Angeles. All of this in their first season in 1AA.
For guiding the Titans to a season of new heights, Polk was selected the Register's Girls Volleyball Roach of the Year.
“We talked about all summer that we were going to be a tougher league (South Coast), and because of that we scheduled some tougher teams and we knew that we were going to have to work harder,” Polk said. “It is real easy to have a little success and kind of get complacent, but we knew what was coming … the Mater Deis, Santa Margaritas and all those teams, so we wanted to be ready.”
Polk said he got an early glimpse of what kind of season the Titans would have.
“This was a pretty driven group,” he said. “They really liked the success they had last year. They saw that all that hard work and effort that we put in had paid off.
“They were definitely more willing coming in this year to commit to work every day and to get better every day, and that was kind of what we did.”
The Titans' playoff run included a sweep of Chaparral of Temecula in the first round, then a four-set victory over Santa Margarita and a sweep of Long Beach Poly, before losing to Marymount in the semifinals.
Polk he points to a victory in the summer as one of the team's biggest moments.
“Really, when we figured that out we could be really good was beating Corona del Mar in the summer tournament,” Polk said. “That was the first legitimate Division 1 team that we beat this year.
“All the girls said, we might be able to do this and we might be pretty good. That really helped us work through the fall.”