Middle School Boys Volleyball Captures PAL Championship
The St. Margaret's Mountain A boys volleyball team closed out a competitive season with a victory in the Parochial Athletic League Tournament Championship on Wednesday at Santa Margarita High School. Early season wins gave the team confidence going into matches against powerful local rivals St. Edward's and Saddleback Valley Christian. After a tough mid-season stretch against solid teams, the team rallied together for a common goal to win a PAL championship. Overcoming early season injuries to key players, several Tartans stepped into different roles and rose to the challenges in front of them.
"One important message to the team was always to trust themselves and their teammates and the pieces would fall into place," said head coach Rob Lakeman. "With a tough regular season, the trust made all the difference in the championship run."
Heading into playoffs as a No. 8 seed, St. Margaret's defeated the No. 1 team, setting up a battle against a mighty St. Edward's squad in the semifinals. After losing to St. Edward's twice during the regular season, the boys overcame adversity to erase a nine-point deficit, ultimately sweeping St. Edward's.
The championship was a rematch against a cross-town rival, Saddleback Valley Christian School. SVCS defeated the Tartans twice in the regular season; however, the boys were ready for the challenge. The championship was a back-and-forth battle the entire match, ending with a St. Margaret's sweeping SVCS for the title.
"Our message going into playoffs was one team, one goal," added coach Torrey Karlsen. "Six individuals fighting and battling for each other rather than themselves. The boys knew we had a tough road entering playoffs. They came together at the right time and showed what potential they truly have."