The Dave Mohs Tournament is a good test for any girls volleyball team.
The tournament begins Friday with games at Edison, Huntington Beach, Marina, Newport Harbor and Ocean View high schools and concludes Saturday.
It will be especially challenging for a young team like San Clemente.
The Tritons (8-4) are ranked No. 6 in the Orange County Top 10. They beat county No. 9 Edison in three sets Tuesday. Their losses are to No. 1 Mater Dei, No. 4 Beckman, No. 5 JSerra and Edison.
San Clemente’s one senior who is a major contributor is outside hitter Sofia Williams.
The Tritons’ top players include sophomores like left-handed Makenzie Granum, who plays opposite hitter sometimes but mostly is a setter, a somewhat new position for her. There are also middle blocker Megan Dougherty and outside hitter Ashton Nelson.
Then there are juniors like outside hitter Quinn Loper and middle blocker Pyper Nelson, older sister of Ashton, and libero Callan Johnson and setter Anna Fischer.
Williams likes the way her team plays and works together.
“Our energy this season is great,” said Williams, a 4.0-plus GPA student who committed to Yale. “The girls all get along so well. No drama, great attitudes.”
As for being the only senior who plays regularly …
“I didn’t even notice that until recently,” she said. “I always try to talk to the girls and keep them excited and help them brush off their mistakes. Maybe tell them a joke or give them something else to think about.”
The Mohs tournament has two pools, Division 1 and Division 2. The 16-team Division 1 pool has seven of the top eight teams in the county rankings: No. 1 Mater Dei, No. 2 Huntington Beach, No. 3 Santa Margarita, No. 4 Beckman, No. 5 JSerra, No. 6 San Clemente and No. 8 San Juan Hills.
Among the non-O.C. teams in the Division 1 pool are San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic, which was 42-0 last season and named national champions by MaxPreps.com.
The Division 2 pool is good too, with Corona del Mar and Tesoro among the 14 teams.
Pool play starts Friday at 3 p.m. The Division 1 Gold Bracket final Saturday at Edison is approximately in the 1:30 p.m.-2 p.m. time slot, depending on what happens in the day’s earlier matches. The tournament information is at EdisonGirlsVolleyball.com.
Loper will be unavailable for San Clemente for the Mohs tournament because she will be on a recruiting visit to USC. Lopez is committed to USC, but recruiting trips remain great opportunities for fun and research for even the already-committed high school athletes. (A Saturday night Trojans football home game vs. Stanford? Yes, please.)
“I still think we’ll be competitive,” said San Clemente coach Casey Swenson. “The last two years at Mohs we got third place although we had primary starters gone. We were able to rise to the occasion.”
• In the CIF Southern Section girls volleyball Division 1/2 rankings, Mater Dei is No. 2 behind Mira Costa which beat Mater Dei last week. Huntington Beach is No. 3. Using a power ranking system, the top 8-12 teams in the Division 1/2 group will be placed in Division 1 in a pool play format for the playoffs with the other eight divisions being traditional 32-team brackets. …
• The Beckman SoCal Showcase girls flag football tournament concludes Saturday with the championship game at 7 p.m. at Beckman High. Quarterfinals play begins at 3 p.m. at Beckman for these games: Corona del Mar vs. Crean Lutheran; Newport Harbor vs. Beckman; St. Joseph of Lakewood vs. Orange Lutheran; and Woodbridge vs. Mission Viejo. …
• The first big Orange County cross country meet of the season is Saturday’s Laguna Hills Invitational, which starts and finishes inside the Laguna Hills High football stadium. The first race on the challenging course, with its famous “Hawk Hill” included, is at 7:45 a.m. and the final race at 11:40 a.m. Among the entrants are Dana Hills, which has the No. 1 teams in the CIF-SS Division 3 boys and girls rankings, and San Clemente, the No. 1 boys team in CIF-SS Division 1. …
• The Trabuco Hills boys and girls cross country teams were team champions in the Saddleback Cup this past Saturday at Trabuco Hills High. …
• John Gazzaniga, who started on Orange Lutheran’s basketball team last season, has transferred to Santa Margarita. Gazzaniga (6-7, 230) scored 14 points with 11 rebounds in Orange Lutheran’s win over Oxnard in last season’s CIF-SS Division 2AA semifinals. He also plays football, the sport he’s more likely to play in college, and was the backup quarterback behind TJ Lateef at Orange Lutheran. …
• A good time to watch Mater Dei’s football team, ranked No. 1 in the nation, is Saturday night at Santa Ana Stadium. The Monarchs will play one of the top teams from Hawaii, Kahuku, which is 4-0 this season and was 12-2 last season. Mater Dei’s next game at Santa Ana Stadium is Sept. 29, their Trinity League opener against Servite, and it will be a packed house for that game.
Orange County girls volleyball Top 10, Sept. 6
CIF-SS girls volleyball polls, Sept. 5
Mira Costa girls volleyball continues strong start with sweep of Mater Dei
Orange County girls athlete of the week: Brooklyn Drumwright, Santa Margarita
Orange County girls volleyball Top 10, Aug. 28