LAS FLORES >> On the verge of making history, the Tesoro boys volleyball team came through with a sweep of San Marcos, 25-20, 25-22, 25-19, Saturday in the CIF-SS Division 2 semifinals at Tesoro High.
The Titans (18-7) advance to the first CIF final in program history. They will face Servite in an all-Orange County championship game Saturday, May 14 at Long Beach City College.
Tesoro coach Pat Eaton could hardly contain his emotions after the victory.
“So many times we’ve been at this spot and we’ve been on the road somewhere and been put in a tough spot,” Eaton said, “and I think we’ve always been waiting for an opportunity to play at home in front of our own fans.”
The visiting Royals (26-9), who defeated the defending Division 3 champs Long Beach Wilson in the quarterfinals, were no match for Tesoro.
“We faced them in the playoffs two years in a row,” Eaton said of San Marcos, “and we knew they would be comfortable since it was the second year playing here, but it was our night, we just played well.”
The Titans controlled the pace with crisp passing from Jace Fukushima and precise attacks from the outside from Kaumana Carreira and Nathan Draper.
Carreira, a 6-8 sophomore, led Tesoro with 14 kills while Draper added 12 kills.
“No surprise from those two guys. When we’ve needed them most they’ve showed up,” Eaton said. “You know, Mana’s (Kaumana) young, only a sophomore, first time playing on the left side for him, so he just gets better every day, and Draper’s been our rock all year. Whenever we need him most he’s the guy we’re going to, he’s been huge.”
Tesoro also received solid contributions at the net from Emmanuel Wendji and Dylan Patton.
“We knew it was going to be tough matchups across the front,” Eaton said, “but if we could get ourselves in some one-on-one situations and pass well, Jace was able to get those guys in great spots. We’re lucky to have a good setter that understands the game, when to press and find guys in some tough spots.”
Last season the Titans were swept by Servite in the quarterfinals. The Friars will also be making their first appearance in a CIF volleyball final.
Eaton, who has coached at Tesoro since 2010, took an extra moment to savor the moment.
“We’re not really known as a traditional volleyball powerhouse, so it’s good to bring volleyball into our own building,” he said, “and then once we get them (the fans) out here, to perform at a high level, so I’m really proud of the guys, it was awesome.”