Mira Costa’s girls beach volleyball team is now three-time California State Interscholastic Beach Volleyball League champions after winning the final match against Laguna Beach 2-1 at North Beach in Santa Monica last Saturday.
The win was the 100th consecutive match won by Mira Costa.
They are now three-time state champions and seven-time Southern Pacific District champions. They have won every championship played for except the very first Southern Pacific District championship eight years ago against Valencia.
They finished the season 13-0.
“Winning the state championship this year was one of my favorite memories in this program over the past four years,” said Mira Costa senior Rochelle Scott. “Not only was it incredibly to win the state title for the third year in a row, but it was also our 100th win for our streak. The streak is so important to our program so earning this 100th win was incredible and a special way for me to leave this program."
Mira Costa’s Olivia Bakos, junior, has played in all three state championships-the only player on the team to do that.
“The ultimate goal for our team this year was to continue our winning streak, win the IBVL Southern California championship and the IBVL state championship,” Bakos said. “Continuing the winning streak was definitely on our minds but we knew with the deep talent on our team that if we played our best, nobody could beat us.”
She added, “Making the third straight final was a relief but we knew we would be up against a tough Laguna Beach team. We had to play our best to win so it was a bit stressful before the match. Once the match started, we settled in, focused on winning each point and ultimately defeated a strong opponent in Laguna Beach High School.”
Kate Reilly was also on the first state beach championship title team, but did not play due to a conflict.
Bakos and Reilly, Mira Costa’s No. 1 pair, lost in three sets.
Both players will be back to try and make it four in a row.
“Winning state felt pretty great,” Reilly said. “Going into next year we need to continue the same work ethic and have the same mindset. We will not only be facing the same teams next year but many of the same players, so we need to focus on the aspects of our team that give us an edge over the others.”
Ava Gallien and Natalie Myszkowski, the No. 2 team, swept their match and so did the No. 3 team of Scott and Savannah Standage.
Gallien and Myskowski clinched the championship with their victory.
“It was a pretty stressful game, but with the help of our coach, we were able to pull out the win, giving us our 100th consecutive win,” Gallien said.
“It’s kind of nerve wracking because we are in the position to end the duel and put everyone at ease,” said Myszkowski, who is a sophomore. “We had to do our best to stay focused on the task at hand and just play our game. Then all that went away once our match was done and it was just like a wave of relief and excitement for another state championship.”
It was the first state championship for head coach Nancy Reynolds in her first appearance and an added bonus was the streak reached an incredible 100 wins in a row.
“Well, I'm really proud of this team and how they handled a new coach, the pressure of the streak and putting in the work to accomplish the goals we set at the beginning of the season,” Reynolds said. “Only one team ends the season with a win and it feels pretty good to be that team.”
Reynolds added, “The 100 in a row is more a testament to the players and coach who came before me,” Reynolds said. “Eric really put in the legwork to establish the program and create a winning tradition. Keeping it going will be a challenge with the growing competition in our league.”
Their former head coach Eric Fonoimoana said it was an “amazing accomplishment to win so many games in a row.”
“The girls are very talented players and athletes,” he said. “They gave us coaches, Nancy and I, a great chance to win a lot but 100 wins in a row is fantastic for the girls’ beach volleyball program.”
He added, “I think winning their third State IBVL Championship in a row caps off another perfect season for the past seven years. I'm happy for Nancy and the team but I believe the streak will continue. The competition to dethrone the champs will be fierce but I believe the team can stay undefeated.”
The streak has brought added pressure.
“As much as I hate the pressure it put on the girls, I certainly didn't want to lose it,” Reynolds said. “It's inevitable, but we will enjoy it while we can.”
It helps to have freshmen on the team like Standage competing at the highest level and she still has three more years.
“The streak isn't just our team,” Standage said. “It’s us and every team before us. I am so lucky I am able to compete with a program as great as this one.”
To get to the final, Mira Costa had to win their semifinal match first, but did that with ease.
“Everyone was confident and loose going into the final,” Reynolds said. “I knew the No. 2 team’s match-up would be tough and I wanted to focus on getting that win in the books. Karissa Cook (my assistant) was a big help with an extra set of eyes.”
Reynolds talked about what might have been the toughest point this season.
“I think the big moment for us this season was our first match against Redondo,” Reynolds said. “We hadn't had many practices due to the weather and had not been challenged yet. I knew we would be, and I wasn't completely certain who I would pair together.”
Reynolds debated who to pair together at No. 2 and No. 3 and Fonoimoana provided some feedback to the new coach that was helpful.
“It was a very close match and it was obvious the pressure was on Mira Costa and Redondo was just playing free and playing really well. It came down to the No. 1 pair and went to three sets. For Olivia Bakos and Kate Reilly to perform under that pressure (everyone talking about the streak) was very impressive.”
“As a team we have had the goal of reaching 100 wins,” Reilly said. “In order to do that we had to win league and state so we went out and did it. It’s a really satisfying feeling for everyone on the team to know that the work this year has paid off.”
Reynolds talked about how her second time around with the program has been different.
“I truly enjoyed the journey of this first season. There were some small road bumps early, but navigating those is what coaching is all about.”
“I’ll especially cherish this first season,” she added.