UPDATE: Mountain View swept visiting Del Oro Thursday night to advance to the NorCal final, slated 7:30 p.m. Saturday (May 31) at Dublin High. The top-seeded Spartans (33-3) will rematch No. 3 St. Francis (29-6), which knocked off host Deer Valley in straight sets Thursday. “We’re looking forward to Saturday,” Mountain View middle blocker Alec Flowers said. “It would be icing on the cake (to claim the NorCal title) after winning CCS.” Jake Stuebner paced the Spartans with 14 kills in the 25-19, 27-25, 25-23 semifinal victory over Del Oro (19-14) of Loomis. Mountain View overcame late deficits in the second and third sets – of five and four points, respectively – to top the Golden Eagles (19-14).
The Spartans were on the brink, but they didn’t blink. Rallying from a two-games-to-one deficit, the Mountain View High boys volleyball team edged top-seeded St. Francis last week to claim the Central Coast Section Division I crown.
Second-seeded Mountain View prevailed 25-19, 21-25, 22-25, 27-25, 19-17 at San Jose’s Independence High, where the Spartans fell to Mitty in last year’s title match.
“Helping the school capture its first CCS volleyball championship is truly an honor,” said coach M. Anthony Chen, who goes by MAC. “Especially the way the match was going, it could have easily gone the other way, and we would have been a three-time runner-up. But the team really had the heart, desire and – most importantly – the execution of critical points down the stretch to get it done.”
Middle blocker Alec Flowers delivered the final point, tapping a shot toward the middle of the St. Francis side that diving libero Brian McFadyen could only hit into the net. Logan Allen set up the kill to finish with 53 assists.
The play capped an improbable comeback by the Spartans (31-3 overall), who only a few minutes earlier found themselves in a dire predicament. They trailed 15-14 with the Lancers (26-6) serving for the match.
But Mountain View battled back – like it did so many times in the May 20 title match – getting a kill from Ryan McLaughlin to tie the set at 15. The Spartans never trailed again.
“Finally, on our fifth attempt at match point, we get it done,” MAC said.
Although St. Francis didn’t get it done, Lancers coach Mike Rubin described the CCS final as “a great match” between teams facing one another for the fourth time this season.
“I thought that MV played well and that my guys played their guts out,” said Rubin, whose team went 1-3 versus the Spartans this year. “At the end of the night, MV had more ball control and experience in those (critical) situations than we did.”
Mountain View’s senior-laden lineup produced some stellar stats in the two-hour-plus match.
Outside hitter Jake Stuebner and setter McLaughlin each racked up 20 kills, with the latter adding two blocks and seven assists. Setter Allen notched nine kills, three blocks and three aces to go along with his match-best 53 assists. Flowers finished with 10 kills and two blocks.
Sophomore outside hitter Colton Stearns – the only underclassman to play major minutes for the Spartans – contributed nine kills and three blocks.
In addition, senior libero Collin Frietzsche “once again set the tone in the back row with his passing,” MAC said.
Senior outside hitter Matthew Larson carried the load for St. Francis, recording a match-best 27 kills.
“Larson proved that he can dominate in a big game,” Rubin said.
The loss didn’t end the season for the Lancers, who will join the Spartans in the Northern California playoffs this week.
First-round matches were scheduled Tuesday (after the Town Crier’s press deadline). The semifinals are slated 7 p.m. Thursday at the homes of the higher seeds and the Division I final is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Dublin High.
For more information on the NorCal playoffs, visit cifstate.org.