By following league and section titles with a regional championship Saturday night, the Mountain View High boys volleyball team lived up to this year’s motto: “Focus to finish.”
Coach M. Anthony Chen, who goes by MAC, said the Spartans devised the rallying cry after failing to close out their foes in the Central Coast Section final and Northern California semifinals last season.
“We had big leads in two of the three sets in the final as well as in NorCals,” MAC said, “but couldn’t finish.”
Lessons learned – at the expense of St. Francis. After surviving a five-game match against the Lancers in the CCS Division I final, Mountain View defeated them in four games Saturday. The top-seeded Spartans beat third-seeded St. Francis 25-23, 24-26, 25-23, 25-16 in the NorCal Division I final at Dublin High.
“This match, as always, came down to who could execute and who could make the necessary adjustments,” said MAC, whose team went 4-1 against the Lancers this year.
He described Saturday’s third set as “critical” after the teams split the first two games, both tightly contested.
“We knew whoever captured that, captured the momentum,” MAC said.
The coach was correct. After pulling out another two-point victory, Mountain View dominated the fourth set to capture the match.
“We figured out what needed to be done and carried things over to the final set,” said MAC, whose Spartans jumped to a big lead early and led by as many as 10 points in the fourth game.
Middle blocker Alec Flowers produced the match-winning point with his 16th kill of the night. The 6-foot-6 senior also contributed three blocks and an assist.
Prior to the match, Flowers said a NorCal championship “would be icing on the cake after winning CCS.” The Spartans had never before won a section crown – losing to West Catholic Athletic League teams in their two prior appearances – and this marks the program’s first regional title as well.
MAC said Mountain View achieved all three of its goals this season, which were to claim league, section and regional championships. The Spartans went undefeated in the Santa Clara Valley Athletic League De Anza Division for the second consecutive year and posted a program-best 34-3 overall record.
“I couldn’t be more proud of a team,” MAC said. “It was a special team that finished with a special ending. I am humbled at what we were able to accomplish, and know that it really was a lot more difficult than it may have looked.”
Mountain View’s senior-laden lineup may have made it look that way. The Spartans featured six seniors among its top seven players.
They included setters Ryan McLaughlin and Logan Allen, who posted big numbers Saturday. McLaughlin notched a team-high 17 kills, along with six assists and three blocks. Allen totaled seven kills, two blocks and a team-best 39 assists.
In Mountain View’s sweep of visiting fifth seed Del Oro in the semifinals Thursday, senior outside hitter Jake Stuebner led the way with 14 kills.
“I think that has to do with the veterans on the team,” Flowers said of the Spartans’ success. “We’re calm and collected on the court. We know what we have to do, and execute properly.”
St. Francis – which knocked off No. 2 Deer Valley on the road in the semis – finished the season 27-7 overall.
Junior outside hitter Steven Dinneen recorded a match-high 20 kills versus Mountain View, while senior outside hitter Matt Larson added 18.
2014 boys volleyball: Mountain View High School at CIF Semifinals - Photos by Ellie Van Houtte/Town Crier