ST. MONICA — The Mariners may be riding a 10-game winning streak, but it’s a little love from the CIF-Southern Section voters that they are really after.
Ranked No. 9 in the latest Division 5 poll, St. Monica’s boys’ volleyball team (10-5-2 overall, 7-0 in league) has already clinched a share of the Camino Real League title heading into tonight’s road game at Serra, but Head Coach Javy Martinez thinks his team should be ranked higher.
A higher ranking would certainly give the Mariners a better draw come playoff time, yet Martinez said his team can’t get too wrapped up in that now, there’s still an outright league title to win.
“We’ve been on a tear,” said Martinez, who is trying to win his second Camino Real League title. His first came with St. Bernard in 2007. “I just want our league to get respect.”
The road to that recognition continues tonight against a Serra team that is winless in league, but Martinez said that he’s guarding against his team becoming complacent.
“The thing that kills me is playing down to the competition,” he said. “I have to make sure I stay on the team. In the big picture, scores matter.”
If the season’s success has been any indicator, his squad, led by senior Tanner Peach, has the right parts to make a postseason run.
The team may be powered by Peach, but fellow hitters Chaz Moynagh and Sia Moala help make the Mariners somewhat of a powerhouse. Yet, Moynagh, a co-captain, said that it is the little things that will keep St. Monica’s momentum rolling.
“To keep our streak up, we need to keep our hits strong and work on passing,” Moynagh said.
He added that the Mariners are strong on the sides, but need to work on the middle if the team is going to contend in the playoffs.
Helping that along has been the emergence of Moala, who Martinez said has come along way since joining the team.
“Talk about taking it to another level,” Martinez said of the middle blocker. “Nothing gets by him.”
Already assured a spot in the playoffs, third-year coach Martinez is looking forward to leading the Mariners to the first postseason appearance since taking over.
Martinez said that being seeded properly is a key, but feels that his team is strong enough to live down any perceived slight from the CIF-SS voters by playing superior volleyball.
“It’s just business as usual,” Martinez said.