BVB: Mustangs stay focused, roll to Karch Kiraly TOC title


Mira Costa left Santa Barbara’s J.R. Richards an angry team on Friday night.

On Saturday, the Mustangs left with smiles and lots of hardware.

With its potent attack firing in all cylinders, Mira Costa swept Bellarmine Prep, 25-16, 25-11, 26-24, to win the Karch Kiraly Tournament of Champions.


Powerful front line players like Casey White, Ryan Kaseff, Connor Inlow and Scott Stephanoff feasted on the slick sets from Grant Chalmers to dominate the Bells from San Jose.

White was named the tournament’s MVP and Kaseff, Inlow and Chalmers were picked to the all-tournament team.

On Friday, Mira Costa had to fight off Bellarmine’s CIF North Coast Section rival Archbishop Mitty in five sets after dominating in the first two. The performance left coach Sean Shoptaw angry.

“It was disappointing and it shouldn’t have happened, no disrespect to Mitty,” he said. “Hopefully, it was a good learning experience for us, that you got to focus for all the games.”

The Mustangs (19-2) were in rhythm on Saturday, sweeping Corona del Mar in the morning semifinals before taking down Bellarmine Prep.

“I expected the kids to come back with better focus today and take care of business like they did,” Shoptaw said. “All in all we’re happy and they deserve to win the tournament.”

Shoptaw admitted he’s spoiled with all the talent he puts on the court.

“We try to emphasize that we can’t get happy with one thing. We got to keep moving the ball around because we have good options everywhere. When we spread the ball around, we’re a tough team to deal with.”

White led the attack with 13 kills, one block and an ace serve. Kaseff had six kills with no kills and Stephanoff and Chalmers had four kills apiece. Riley Mallon was a force at the service line with six aces, including four in a row in the third set.

Josh Nolan had 12 kills to pace Bellarmine Prep, which upset second-seeded Esperanza in the semifinals.

Esperanza, the tournament’s defending champion, came back to beat Corona del Mar in the third-place match. Mitty swept West Ranch in the match for fifth place.

Dos Pueblos got a small measure of revenge against Santa Barbara in the seventh-place match. The Chargers swept the Dons 25-18, 25-22, 25-22.

The teams met nine days ago in a Channel League match at Santa Barbara and the Dons pulled out a dramatic five-set win.

While beating Santa Barbara provided a boost of confidence for the Chargers, DP coach Chris Hughes emphasized that winning the league rematch is what really matters the most. They play again in two weeks at DP.

?This isn?t a big deal and I don?t want to make it a big deal,? Hughes said of Saturday?s win. ?What I told the guys was what?s really important is league, playing them in a couple of Thursdays at home. Psychologically, yeah, (the win) helps us and it also puts something in their heads: ?Hey, DP is pretty good.??

Josh Lemons led the Chargers with 12 kills and Jackson Wopat added eight kills.

Dos Pueblos, which played seven matches in six days, went 2-2 in the tournament. Its losses came against Corona del Mar and Archbishop Mitty.

?I?m very pleased with the guys? performance at a high level at a high-level tournament,? Hughes said. ?Our two losses came against two historic programs, two really, really good teams.?

Santa Barbara coach Chad Arneson gave props to DP.

?You got to give DP credit,? he said. ?Chris Hughes has got his team playing with a lot of confidence and they?re playing well.?

Arneson noted his team has taken a hit recently with injuries, but he didn?t want to use that as an excuse.

?For what we were dealt with, i thought we played really well,? he said. ?We had leads against DP. We let it slip away.?

San Marcos beat Buchanan in four sets to reach the consolation final. The Royals, who were without outside hitter Baker Johnson (lung issue), lost to Newport Harbor, 25-17, 25-21, 25-20.