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EPISODE #98
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS ARE DAN O’DELL AND RICHARD MERCADO

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guests are:

  • Dan O’Dell (head girls volleyball coach at Mater Dei High School);
  • Richard Mercado (head baseball coach at Mater Dei High School)

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 9/21/19

EPISODE #92
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS ARE DAN ALBANO AND NATALIE BERTY

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. His Twitter handle is: @catholicsv

Today’s guests is include:

  • Dan Albano (OC Varsity section from the Orange County Register);
  • Natalie Berty (Trinity League Athlete of the Year – from Mater Dei H.S.)

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 6/29/19

EPISODE #59
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS INCLUDE BRUCE ROLLINSON AND LES LUKACH

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. We’ve got another terrific show to share with you today.

Today’s guests include: Bruce Rollinson (head football coach at Mater Dei H.S.) and Les Lukach (CA correspondent for prep baseball report).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 6/9/18

EPISODE #51
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS INCLUDE RICK THOMPSON, ERIC BORBA AND JONATHAN KHAMIS

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. We’ve got another jam-packed show for you today.

Our guests include: Rick Thompson, who heads up all things “e sports” at Mater Dei High School; Eric Borba (head baseball coach at Orange Lutheran High School); and Jonathan Khamis of ocvarsity.com and the Orange County Register.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 3/03/18

EPISODE #41
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS INCLUDE FRANK BURLISON, STEVE VIRGEN, AND MIKE MURPHY

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. We have another great cornucopia of guests for you today. These include the following: Frank Burlison, prep basketball writer; Steve Virgen, prep football writer; and Mike Murphy, the J Serra girls volleyball coach.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 11/18/17

EPISODE #4
CATHOLIC SPORTS VIEW: GUESTS INCLUDE BRUCE ROLLINSON, CHRIS SEGESMAN, AND TIA MEZA

Host Bob Gibson interviews coaches and players throughout the various Catholic high schools in Orange County. This week, we’re on location at Mater Dei High School. First, Gibson sits down with longtime head football coach, Bruce Rollinson. Next, we hear from the head water polo coach, Chris Segesman. Finally, Gibson chats with athletic director and legendary Mater Dei softball star, Tia Meza.

 

Originally broadcast on 10/15/16

ON THE COMEBACK TRAIL

Eight years later and Mater Dei girls’ soccer coach Matty West is getting a refresher course in the challenges that often follow championships.

West led Mater Dei to its second CIF-SS title in program history last March, and the Monarchs seem primed to repeat this season with the return of Division I player of the year Olivia Ware, first-teamer Lauren Hackwith and second-team goalkeeper Madi Puliafico.

West and his players were keenly aware Mater Dei’s reputation would bring out the best in the opposition. Still, the Monarchs opened the season with four consecutive shutout victories.

But the team hit a skid, beginning with a shootout loss to La Costa Canyon in the semifinals of the Butch Lee Memorial tournament Dec. 12 in San Diego, and recorded just one regulation victory over a six-game stretch.

“We seem to be getting every team’s best shot right now,” West said Dec. 29, shortly after a 1-0 loss to Esperanza knocked the Monarchs from the winner’s bracket at the Excalibur Tournament in Irvine.

A similar phrase was likely uttered by West after the first month of 2007-08 season, when the Monarchs set out to defend their first section title in school history, a 1-0 victory against Upland that ended its 60-game unbeaten streak. The Monarchs were victorious in just one of their first seven games, however.

They eventually regrouped that season, defended their Trinity League title and advanced as far as the Division I semifinals. As this season unwinds, West is confident the Monarchs will be just as prepared for Trinity League play, scheduled to begin Jan. 16 against visiting Rosary.

“We’re taking some important steps,” West says.

Ware can sense other teams are playing with extra vigor against the Monarchs. Not only is the opposition fired up to take on the defending Division I champions, but they also realize Mater Dei is a solid test again this season.

Ware and her teammates used that as additional motivation while winning their first four games by a combined score of 14-0, followed by a 2-1 victory against San Diego powerhouse Cathedral Catholic in a quarterfinal at the Butch Lee Memorial tournament.

But the Monarchs showed their first blemishes of the season in the semifinal loss to La Costa Canyon, a team that beat Mater Dei in the Southern California regional final last season. The Monarchs gave up four goals in the rematch, resulting in a 4-4 tie that sent the game to overtime and La Costa Canyon eventually won on penalty kicks.

The emotional letdown seemed to carry over to Mater Dei’s next game, when it was defeated in regulation for the first time this season, 2-0, against Beckman.

The Monarchs were suddenly grasping for that early-season spark, but it’s been more elusive than expected.

“It’s kind of fading away,” Ware says after the loss to Esperanza. “We need to bring it back.”

The Monarchs should certainly possess fresh legs heading into league play, as they had just one game between Dec. 30 and Jan. 16 after playing 12 the first four weeks of the season.

Mater Dei will take any advantage it can get.

“I’m so impressed, again, with the Trinity League,” West says. “It’s going to be ultra-competitive. There’s not going to be an easy game, and we’re going to have to be prepared.”

MEET MATER DEI’s MAKENA MARTIN

Always tall for her age, Makena Martin would often get asked why she wasn’t playing basketball or volleyball. She finally decided to give one of those sports a try.

“I started volleyball when I was in fifth grade,” says Martin. “I was thinking about basketball, but it just never interested me, so I thought I’d try volleyball. I’ve made a lot of new relationships through it, and I’ve just never stopped. I absolutely love it now.”

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The 17-year-old Mater Dei senior, who now stands at 6-foot,1-inch, plays middle blocker for the Monarchs, a position she struggled with initially, but has worked hard at to improve her skills, becoming one of the top players in her position in Orange County.

“You have to be very quick on your feet, and you have no down time,” says Martin of the position. “You have to make critical decisions all the time, so that was a struggle for me at the beginning.

“Through my coaches, and through time playing and experience, I’ve learned a lot…and I love the position. I’m at the net; I’m always hitting.”

In her final year at Mater Dei, and as one of only two returning starters for the varsity Monarchs, Martin is looking to be a leader to her teammates by staying positive on and off the court, regardless of the score or standings. Head varsity coach Dan O’Dell is looking for that leadership as well.

“Makena is an excellent attacker who sees the block well and does a good job at finding the open court,” says O’Dell. “Her time from our CIF [playoff] run last year should give us some big game experience this year as we hope to make another run.”

Off the volleyball court and on campus, Martin turns her time and energy to organizations that help strengthen her faith by being a participant in Campus Ministry as well as Fellowship of Athletic Monarchs (FAM).

“It’s played a huge role in my life to keep me stable with my faith,” says Martin.

After graduation, the Newport Beach resident is headed deep into the heart of Texas, where Martin will attend Texas Christian University in Ft. Worth and has committed to play volleyball for the Horned Frogs. While there, she plans to study business management and hopes in the future to work with special needs children.

When it comes to role models, Martin doesn’t look much further than her own home, citing both her mother and grandmother as two of the most influential people in her life.

“They’ve taught me to influence others, in the way that Christ would, and to spread his Word…and to stay confident in myself, even when it’s hard,” says Martin. “They just impact me every day, and I totally look up to them.”

 

TRINITY LEAGUE 2015 FALL FOOTBALL PREVIEW

When you compete among the nation’s best, anything can happen week to week.

That’s the gist of how three Trinity League head varsity football coaches view the upcoming gridiron league season, which kicks off Oct. 9 under bright Friday night lights.

St. John Bosco, the league champion the past three years with perfect 5-0-0 records, still is viewed as the probable team to beat for top Trinity League honors this season.

But in a league that is so competitive, any team — Bosco, Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, JSerra, Orange Lutheran, Servite — is capable of stepping up to beat a league rival, coaches say.

The Trinity League has produced three of the last five Pac-5 Division champions.

“To try to say which schools will do well is almost impossible to answer,” Mater Dei head football coach Bruce Rollinson says. “The league is so balanced, with great coaches and great players, that any team can beat another one any given week.”

Adds Rollinson, “Bosco is still the favorite, as they will just reload. To me, the rest of us will all hope that somebody upsets Bosco and that we don’t come up short in our [game].”

The Orange County Register’s OC Varsity actually predicts Mater Dei to win the Trinity League championship and contend for the Pac-5 championship, followed by Bosco at No. 2 and, in order, Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran, JSerra and Servite.

A Trinity League coaching poll yields the following predicted finish: St. John Bosco, Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, Orange Lutheran, JSerra and Servite.

Coach Scott Meyer is new to Servite. He hopes to turn around the recent fortunes of the Friars, who went 10-13 the last two seasons. Meyer left marquee varsity football powerhouse Corona del Mar this year to become head coach at Servite.

During his four seasons at Corona del Mar, Meyer’s squads won a CIF State title in 2013 and won three CIF-SS divisional championships. His career record with the Sea Kings is 50-6.

But Meyer wasn’t about to make bold predictions to Orange County Catholic about Servite’s prospects this fall.

“Every year is a new year, with players moving on and newcomers stepping up,” Meyer says. “We expect all of our players to work hard every day to become better players and better teammates.”

Adds Meyer of the upcoming season: “In my opinion, the Trinity League is the best league in the nation, so I would expect that all teams compete at the highest level.”

JSerra head football coach Jim Hartigan’s varsity team finished second in the Trinity League last year with a record of 4-1 and an overall record of 10-2.

As for the upside of the Lions’ 2015 season, Hartigan cites his team’s youth and “tremendous” amount of potential, adding, “We compete in a very physical league.”

But Hartigan also cites the Lions’ youth as a weakness this season, noting that a lot of starters graduated from JSerra this spring. Key losses include quarterback Nick Robinson, who went to Georgia; defensive lineman D.J. Bailey, now at Harvard; and wide receiver and defensive back Sam Philippi, now at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hartigan’s squad has two returning starters on offense and six on defense.

Hartigan singles out returning third-year starter Conor O’Brien, a senior wide receiver and defensive back, as the most inspirational player on his team.

“He’s passionate and a very hard worker and a good Catholic,” says Hartigan, now in his ninth season as head varsity football coach at JSerra.

As for the most promising newcomers and younger players coming up at JSerra, Hartigan likes senior wide receiver and defensive back Avery Williams; senior running back, linebacker and defensive lineman Corey Selenski; senior wide receiver, running back and defensive back Charlie Mestaz; and junior offensive lineman and defensive lineman Zelan Tupuola.

“Goal-setting and follow-through are critical aspects to the success of our program,” notes Hartigan, whose career record at JSerra is 45-36.

Rollinson, of Mater Dei, also says his team lost a number of players this year to graduation.

“Here at Mater Dei,” Rollinson says, “the expectations are that the younger players will take advantage of the opportunity that has been presented to them. We have a lot of young players.

“The reality is, we could start as many as five or six sophomores, so they better grow up fast or it could be a long year. But we do have some good solid experienced players coming back.”

PHOTO: COURTESY, OC REGISTER

LEAP OF FAITH

Jazmin Moss was never so relieved to see a white flag thrust in the air.

She had just darted into the sand at the end of her final triple jump attempt Friday night at the Southern Section Masters track and field meet at Cerritos College, her last chance to record a qualifying mark for the state championships.

Moss and her coach at Mater Dei High School for the last four years, Keinan Briggs, had been working tirelessly toward Moss’s goal of reaching the state finals this weekend at Buchanan High School near Fresno, and now it came down to a matter of inches.

She had fouled on two of her previous attempts and fell short of the qualifying mark of 38 feet 1 inch on the other three, leaving one final opportunity to extend her senior season.

After her previous jump had come up two inches short of the qualifying mark, Briggs was surprised to see Moss walking away from the pit with her head down. He hollered at her from the stands, pleading that she not give up, and then took a walk under the grandstands just to clear his own mind.

Briggs, who had never coached a jumper to the state finals in his four seasons at Mater Dei, reemerged from the tunnel just as Moss was warming up for her final attempt.

“When she got up, I knew she was ready to go,” Briggs said.

Moss sped down the runway, hopped and skipped through the first two phases and then launched herself from the white takeoff board. As she sailed through the air, Moss was confident she nailed all her steps, but was concerned the tip of her shoe might have crept over the takeoff board on her final spring, disqualifying the mark.

Briggs was locked in on the judge as well, someone he had watched numerous times over the years as he presided over other events. Briggs knew the judge would give a quick nod of the head if the jump was legal. When he witnessed the judge’s chin drop just as Moss hit the sand, he knew they met their No. 1 goal.

Moss leapt from the sand pit and spun toward the judge just as he shot the white flag in the air, signaling the jump was legal. It still needed to measure at least 38-1, but Moss had gone 38-4   the week before at the Southern Section finals and was confident she landed in similar territory.

“It’s over,” Moss said to herself. “You’re good.”

The mark was officially measured at 38-8  , which not only qualified for state, but matched a 24-year-old school record belonging to Melissa McDonald.

“As a freshman, I never saw myself going this far,” Moss said on the eve of her graduation from Mater Dei. “I was just happy to be part of a team.”

Unlike a majority of freshmen who enroll at Mater Dei, Moss didn’t have any particular interests outside of the classroom. She tried volleyball and basketball before joining the track team in the spring of her freshman year, the same season Briggs started coaching the Mater Dei jumpers.

“I saw potential in her,” Briggs remembers. “She was pretty lanky and really skinny, but just had this raw talent that enabled me to mold her into the athlete she is today.”