Shrugging off a first-set loss, the top-seeded St. Francis High boys volleyball team dominated No. 3 Bellarmine the rest of the way to capture the Central Coast Section Division I title last week.
“I was really proud of how well our guys responded after the close first set,” coach Jonah Carson said after the May 16 match.
The rival Bells prevailed 25-23 in the opening set, but the host Lancers never trailed after that. They won the remaining games 25-16, 25-16, 25-9.
Jerod Nelsen racked up 17 kills, two blocks and two aces to lead St. Francis. Stefan Medan added 11 kills and six blocks, Alexander Biz recorded nine kills and Cameron Allen notched five.
“Jerod Nelsen and Alexander Biz both played very complete matches,” Carson said. “Biz passed extremely well and Jerod was an absolute force – he had 17 kills and went on a major service run.”
Senior setter Curtis Reitmeir recorded 44 assists, two kills and four blocks.
“Curtis set a great match,” the coach said. “He does an excellent job of finding the right hitter in the big moment and keeping every guy involved.”
Carson added that the Lancers received strong support from their subs, too.
“I was also excited about the contribution of a few guys off the bench,” he said. “Kory Yang came in for a good service run and Nicolas Hammer subbed in and scored with some powerful blocks.”
The match marked the fourth time St. Francis (33-2 overall) faced league foe Bellarmine (28-9) this season. The Lancers swept the Bells in the West Catholic Athletic League final May 4 after the squads split their two regular-season meetings.
A year ago, Bellarmine beat St. Francis in the CCS Division I final.
The season isn’t over for the Lancers; they have advanced to the Northern California Division I playoffs. Top-seeded St. Francis was slated to open at home Tuesday, after the Town Crier’s deadline. With a win, the Lancers host Thursday’s semifinal, set for 7 p.m.
Mountain View and Los Altos battled two other teams for first place at last week’s CCS championships – all of them posted scores between 149 and 150 – but neither local squad finished on top.
Cupertino and Homestead shared the team title by each scoring a 149.500 May 17 at Gymtowne Gymnastics in South San Francisco. Defending champ Mountain View totaled a 149.350 to take third, and Los Altos finished fourth with a 149.300.
“All of the girls fought really hard (and) the meet came down to the last few gymnasts,” said Sarah Wallace, who coaches the Los Altos and Mountain View teams. “There was a lot of suspense waiting for each score to appear. There were some amazing routines and some great gymnastics.”
Mountain View sophomore Cindy Linker won the uneven bars (9.800) and placed fourth all-around (38.350). Los Altos freshman Kelli Kuramoto finished fifth all-around (38.200) and teammate Courtney Krauss, another freshman, was seventh (38.000).
St. Francis, which won 16 straight CCS titles before the Spartans snapped its streak last year, came in fifth (146.850) last week. Junior Hannah Leis led the Lancers by placing ninth all-around (37.400).
St. Francis finished fourth at last week’s CCS championships, one spot – and one stroke – behind Bellarmine for the final berth in the Northern California finals.
The Lancers shot 377 and the rival Bells posted a 376 May 16 at Laguna Seca Golf Ranch.
Junior Easton Doyle led St. Francis with a 1-over-par 72, which tied him with two other participants for eighth place in the individual competition. Teammates Jeremy Villafuerte and Tyson Dinsmore tied four other golfers for 21st with rounds of 76.
Pinewood junior John Foley and Los Altos sophomore Carlos Arieta, who qualified for CCS as individuals, did not advance to NorCal either. Foley shot a 75, tying two other competitors for 18th; Arieta recorded a 77 to finish in an eight-way tie for 27th.
St. Francis junior Ethan Carroll made it as far as the quarterfinals of the CCS singles championships, where he fell to King’s Academy’s James Bell in straight sets May 16 in Aptos.
Mountain View freshman John Rado was ousted from the singles tournament earlier that day; Homestead’s Adit Kishen beat him 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 in the first round.
In doubles, St. Francis’ Ajith Kumar and Nathan Tran were eliminated in the first round by Woodside’s Levi Vigdorchik and Alex Kastelein in straight sets.
Defending champ St. Francis made a quick exit from the CCS Open Division playoffs, falling in the first round to Los Gatos May 17.
The 10th-seeded Wildcats beat the No. 7 Lancers 4-3.
Tied after five innings, Los Gatos took a 3-2 lead in the sixth and added another run in the top of the seventh. In the bottom of the frame, host St. Francis cut its deficit in half on Mack Cheli’s two-out homer.
Cheli finished with two hits; RJ Teijeiro also had two hits and an RBI for the Lancers (21-10).
Justin Folan took the loss, allowing six hits and three runs over five innings.
In the first round of the CCS Division II playoffs, Pinewood found out the hard way that there’s a big difference in the level of play in the Private School Athletic League and the West Catholic Athletic League.
The 16th-seeded Panthers, who won their first PSAL title the week before, proved no match for No. 1 Sacred Heart Cathedral of the mighty WCAL. Host Cathedral crushed Pinewood 13-0 in a game that ended in five innings on the mercy rule May 17.
“They are a great team,” Pinewood coach Casey Rowe said of his team’s opponent.
Pinewood was held to three hits: a pair of singles by Bo Fick and a triple by Casey Bates. Starting pitcher Jackson Haun took the loss.
“It didn’t go our way,” Rowe said, “but I’m incredibly proud of our guys and how they carried themselves.”
The Panthers, in CCS for the first time, finished the year 14-6.
Sixth-seeded St. Francis eked out a 3-2 win over No. 3 Half Moon Bay in the first round of the CCS Open Division playoffs Saturday at Fremont High.
The Lancers (22-7) are slated to face No. 7 Santa Teresa (18-10) 4:30 p.m. today in the semifinals at PAL Stadium in San Jose.
Mountain View, the eighth seed in the CCS Open Division, fell to No. 1 Carlmont 8-2 Saturday at Hawes Park.
The Spartans (12-13) were limited to five hits and trailed 6-1 after three innings.