RANCHO SANTA MARGARITA >> The top-seeded Capistrano Valley Christian boys volleyball team was at set point in the opening set, about to get a huge momentum boost in the Division III final of the CIF Southern California Regional playoffs Saturday night at Tesoro High.
Instead, second-seeded Francis Parker of San Diego rallied to win the first set and took control of the match from there, winning 26-24, 25-20, 25-20.
The Eagles (29-11) won their first two matches in regional playoffs to get to the final after being swept by St. Margaret’s in the CIF-SS Division 5 final on May 14.
“Hats off to Francis Parker,” Capistrano Valley Christian coach Ryan Van Rensslaer said. “They’re a great team. We’re a great team, but we played the better team tonight.”
After falling behind 6-2 in the first set, Capo Valley Christian went on a run to hold a 24-21 lead before the Lancers (27-12) called a timeout.
Parker would end up winning the set with a 5-0 run thanks largely to senior setter Andres Marouf, who finished with a game-high 31 assists.
“We work well together,” Marouf said. “In that first set when we were down, we knew we had a shot to come back. Our whole team just carries us. We have great chemistry. We had to keep on playing. It’s our last game, so we can’t give up. We’ve been in this situation where we were down before. We know what to do.”
The Eagles fell behind in the second set 5-1, but marched right back to cut the deficit to 20-18 before Parker finished off the second set.
Capo Valley Christian started the third set strong thanks to senior Andrew Sheveland (18 kills, 14 assists), but the Lancers again rallied, retook the lead and Ryan Fox came through with the final kill to win it for Parker.
Fox had 11 kills for the Lancers, who won the CIF-San Diego Section Division 1 title last week.
Kai Taylor had 14 kills and 12 assists for the Eagles. Max Stegelvik had 18 assists for Capo Valley Christian.
The Eagles defeated Sunny Hills on Thursday to advance to the regional final.
“The season was amazing,” Van Rensslaer said. “Incredible lessons from these young men, from their character and hard work. Couldn’t be prouder of them.”