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Mater Dei Eager to Bounce Back

April 17, 2001|MICHAEL ITAGAKI

This week's schedule is light because of spring break, but there is a crucial Serra League match for Mater Dei, the eighth-ranked team in the county.

Thursday, the Monarchs play at Bellflower St. John Bosco with second place on the line. Only two teams earn automatic playoff berths in the Serra, although with the new playoff alignment, there figure to be more at-large berths awarded.

Mater Dei hasn't played since its three-game loss to Santa Margarita on April 5, when the Monarchs only scored 15 points in the match.

"They're eager to get back out there," said Mater Dei Coach Tom Costanzo.

"They looked a little shell-shocked after the Santa Margarita loss, but they weren't overly dejected or anything. It was more like, 'Hey, that wasn't us,' or 'Where did that come from?' They see it more as an anomaly."

Albeit an ugly one. The Monarchs had only one more kill than hitting error and their passing wasn't sharp, making it tougher for setter Mike Gazzano, one of the county's best, who finished with only 21 assists.

"About the only bright spot was that we played the best back-court defense we've played this year in that match," Costanzo said. "I still think that when we play what we're capable of, we're as good as anybody."


The Southern Section increased from three playoff divisions to five and the result has been the dispersion of the traditional powers throughout the divisions.

"Your kids shoot for a CIF championship and the reality is that whether it's Division I or Division III, five years down the line no one remembers what division it was in," Santa Margarita Coach John Hawks said. "I think it has kind of watered things down a little bit. It would be nice to have a true champion."

Hawks' wish could be on its way.

Newport Harbor Coach Dan Glenn is gathering support for a proposal he would like to ultimately bring before the section council.

The proposal has the five division champions and the runners-up playing a mini tournament after the Southern Section finals.

This idea is not unprecedented for the section, as it currently awards section championships in golf to the team regional champions, then the top teams from each region play for another title the following week at the Southern Section team finals.

The format could apply to other sports like tennis, and water polo, where the top teams in the section are also scattered throughout the divisions either by enrollment-based or geographical standards.


Ten Orange County teams were ranked among the top four in the section's five divisions last week.

In Division I, Fountain Valley was No. 1 and Capistrano Valley No. 2. In Division II, Foothill was No. 4. In Division III, Newport Harbor was No. 1, Santa Margarita No. 2 and Mater Dei No. 3. In Division IV, Corona del Mar was No. 3 and Ocean View No. 4. In Division V, St. Margaret's was No. 1 and Brethren Christian No. 2.


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Orange County Sportswriters' Poll


Pos. School League Rec. 1. Santa Margarita (1) Serra 11-0 2. Foothill (2) Century 9-1 3. Fountain Valley (3) Sunset 8-2 4. Capistrano Valley (4) S. Coast 10-0 5. Irvine (5) Sea View 10-1 6. Newport Harbor (6) Sea View 5-5 7. Marina (7) Sunset 12-2 8. Mater Dei (8) Serra 5-3 9. Edison (10) Sunset 7-5 10. Corona del Mar (NR) P. Coast 7-2


Last week's rankings in parentheses

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