Loyola faces rival for 12th CIF crown

The 2011 postseason was monumental. It was the first of its kind for Loyola volleyball.

For the program that has won 11 CIF titles, the most in Southern Section history, it’s not often that you come up on many firsts in the postseason.

2011 was monumental for reasons the Cubs aren’t fond of. Last year’s playoff loss to St. John Bosco marked the first time in their history they failed to make it out of the first round of the playoffs.

It was a big deal.

So big, one dare not mention the name St. John Bosco on campus. The volleyball team would cringe.

“It irritates me,” said Loyola senior libero Parker Boehle. “I just got to act as if I didn’t hear it.”

Head coach Michael Boehle, Parker’s dad, recently conducted an interview without mentioning the school’s name.  

As fate would have it, the Cubs faced the Braves in the Best of the West tournament.  In their first match of their first tournament of the season, they swept St. John Bosco, 25-20, 25-15.

The Cubs (32-1) used last season’s playoff loss to St. John Bosco as motivation but didn’t dwell on it. Instead, they’ve relied on senior leadership which has gotten them into the 2012 CIF Division I CIF Southern-Section Ford Boys Volleyball Championships final against Mira Costa (31-4).  It’s a match that you can see right here on FOXSportsWest.com on Saturday at 7:30pm.

It was four seniors, Boehle, setter Michael Mullahey, and outside hitters Nick Porterfield and Alex Slaught who stormed into Coach Boehle’s office following last season’s first round loss saying “It’s not going to happen this year.  We don’t want it to ever happen again.” 

“We want to forget that loss.  That was pretty tough to go through,” Parker said.  “I just didn’t want the guys to have that in the back of their minds. We want a new season, a new, fresh start and so far it’s proved well.”

The seniors have been tremendous leaders for the Cubs this season – on and off the court.

They’ve organized pregame meals, effectively building team unity. That leadership also extends to teaching some of the younger guys the importance of the rivalry with Mira Costa.

Yes, Saturday represents a chance to win a CIF title. But it’s not just any chance to win a title, it’s a chance to do it against Mira Costa.

The coaches know each other.  The players see each other often. They play on some of the same teams on the club circuit when they’re not battling during the high school season.

“There’s a lot of smack talk before the game and after the game,” Parker said.

These are two of the top volleyball programs in the nation.  Loyola leads the Southern Section with 11 CIF Championships.  Costa is third with six.

“It’s the Tobacco Road of volleyball,” said Coach Boehle.

They’ve already faced each other twice this season.  Both matches resulted in Cubs wins.
“We just know that they’re going to come back stronger on Saturday,” Parker said. 

“They say they have a new lineup, which is great.  They’re a great team but we’re going to try to prove that we can beat them three times.  They say we can’t do it but we know we can.”

They don’t expect it to be easy.

“It’s hard to beat a team once, it’s hard to beat a team twice,” Coach Boehle said. “Three times and it’s like, ‘What are you supposed to say?’  There’s a reason why we’re both in this final together. “