If you haven’t already heard, the Otay Ranch Mustangs are San Diego Section Division I boys volleyball champions once again. That makes it two in a row for the seven-time league champion Mustangs, who swept second-seeded Poway, 3-0, in finals action last Saturday at Cathedral Catholic High School.
Top-seeded Otay Ranch prevailed by scores of 26-24, 25-16, 25-20 to improve to 39-2 overall.
“We were very proud again to represent the South Bay and all the fans who were pulling for us,” Mustang coach Tony Fajardo said. “The fans really helped us at the end of Game One, which proved to be very pivotal.”
Trailing 24-23, Otay Ranch fed off the energy of its fans to record the final three points of the game for a 26-24 victory.
”We captured the momentum and eventually the next two games,” Fajardo said.
Jorge Reyes led the Mustangs with 11 kills while Andrew Freiha contributed 10 kills. Nick Alegrado had 35 assists while J.J. Olaogun led the team with 17 digs.
Besides drawing emotional support from the team’s ardent fan base, Fajardo said inspiration also comes from within the team.
“We start every practice and match with a daily inspiration,” the ORHS coach said. “Junior setter Adrian Ventura read a quote by Althea Gibson to start our Friday practice in preparation for the CIF finals, and it could not have been more appropriate for our 2012 CIF championship match. The boys liked it so much that senior defensive specialist Gerard Langit read it again before we took the court against Poway.”
Gibson’s quote? “In sports, you simply aren’t considered a real champion until you have defended your title successfully. Winning it once can be a fluke; winning it twice proves you are the best.”
“Together we proved that we are the best — the best team, best staff, best program, best student body and easily the best fan base,” Fajardo said.
REGIONAL STATE BOYS VOLLEYBALL PLAYOFFS
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA QUARTERFINALS: The top-seeded Otay Ranch Mustangs defeated eighth-seeded Santa Monica 25-17, 25-9, 25-17 on Tuesday to advance to Thursday’s regional semifinals. Reserve setters Adrian Ventura and Andrew Gojouangco combined for 27 assists while five players had four or more kills, led by Jorge Reyes (seven) and Frank Herrera (six).
Should the Mustangs defeat L.A. Section champion Palisades on Thursday, they would play for the Southern California regional championship Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Irvine Valley College.