Randy Angel

Redondo, Mira Costa girls volleyball matchup key to a Bay League title

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Senior setter Emily Mitter spreads the ball around to a versatile Redondo offense. Photo by Ray Vidal

by Randy Angel

When the girls volleyball teams from Mira Costa and Redondo meet, it brings out a vocal, raucous crowd from both sides, and Tuesday’s matchup between the two powers will be no different.

Redondo is ranked No. 2 in the CIF-Southern Section Division 1 poll behind Mater Dei, and Mira Costa holds the No. 4 spot under new head coach Cam Green.

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The first of two rivalry matches between the South Bay schools takes place Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. at Redondo. The teams conclude the regular season at Mira Costa on Wednesday, Oct. 10.

“Mira Costa will only continue to get better with more time with Cam Green,” Redondo coach Tommy Chaffins said. “Cam will have his team prepared, and I’m sure they will be pumped for the game. I think our rivalry brings out the best from each other, and I’m sure 2018 will be no different. It is the marquee game of the year in the South Bay, if not the entire state. The proximity of the schools, the history, the fans, the athletes; there is nothing like this game compared to any other. Ohio State and Michigan is just not another game. Redondo/Mira Costa is not another game.”

Redondo entered the week with a 16-2 record, and began its run for a Bay League title with a home match against Palos Verdes on Tuesday.

The Sea Hawks are coming off a stellar showing at the Durango Fall Classic in Las Vegas where they battled Assumption, of Kentucky, in the finals for the second straight year.  

Assumption, the No. 1 team in the nation, defeated Redondo (No. 8 in nation) 25-10, 25-21 for its fifth Durango championship this decade.

“We were honored to make the finals two years in a row in what is easily the No. 1 high school tournament in the county,” Chaffins said. “I know we were forced to step up our game by the intense competition.”

After playing three pool games, Redondo faced tough competition.

“In Friday’s pool play, we defeated the reigning California Division 2 State Champions, Sierra Canyon, which returned five starters. On Saturday, we took out undefeated and the No. 1 team from Hawaii, Kamehameha, and then beat the No. 11 team from Arizona, Xavier Prep.  We unfortunately couldn’t beat the No. 1 team in the country, Assumption. Assumption has 11 Division 1 signees and some people think this might be the best team Assumption has ever had. Time will tell but they were really impressive.”

Mustangs roll on

Mira Costa (4th in CIF-SS Division 1 poll and 13th in State) is off to a fine start this season and will be heading to Phoenix, AZ on Thursday to compete in the 10th Annual Nike Tournament of Champions showcasing 96 of America’s elite teams.

Prior to the tournament, Mira Costa (11-4) continued league action hosting Leuzinger on Tuesday and travels to Peninsula on Thursday.

The Mustangs’ four losses were to highly respectable teams including Marymount (4th in state, 12th in nation), Vista Murrieta (6th in state), Harvard-Westlake (11th in state) and Iolani (No. 1 in Hawaii).

The team has also defeated La Costa Canyon on the road, knocking the Mavericks out of the top 15 in the national rankings.

“It’s been an exciting season,” Green said. “The more competition the better. The Palos Verdes match (a 3-2 victory) was a good test for us mentally. We’ve been tested and continue to improve.”

Green is optimistic about the Mira Costa-Redondo showdowns.

“I’ve coached college teams that reached the Final Four and on the AVP Tour [with players such as Kerri Walsh Jennings, Misty May, Elaine Youngs and Rachel Wacholder], but there’s something special about high school rivalry games,” Green said. “When Mira Costa and Redondo meet, the matches often rank among the nation’s best.”

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