Fall sports roundup: MHS boys’ water polo and girls’ tennis claim league titles

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Malibu goalie Dane Sartorius attempts to block a shot in the Sharks 8-6 victory over Arroyo Grande. Photo by Dick Dornan / TMT

It has been a great start to the 2011-12 athletic calendar year at Malibu High School with all five sports teams notching successful fall campaigns. Boys’ water polo and girls’ tennis each captured league titles for the second consecutive year, while the girls’ volleyball team finished in second place in league.

All three sports have earned a berth in the California Interscholastic Federation Southern Section playoffs beginning this week.

On the gridiron, the Sharks football team is currently 5-4 overall and tied with Santa Clara High School for third place with a 1-2 league mark. The winner of the Malibu-Santa Clara game Thursday at 7 p.m. at Santa Clara will clinch the remaining playoff spot.

Malibu’s boys’ and girls’ cross country teams ran well this year and finished in style at the Frontier League championships held at MHS. The boys’ team finished in second place and qualified for the CIF-SS Division IV prelims on Sat., Nov. 12 at Mt. San Antonio College. Erik Rosenberg captured first-team all-league honors while Dyer Pettijohn earned second-team.

Freshman Caroline Pietrzyk won the girls’ individual league title and thus earned the Frontier League Most Valuable Runner award. Nicole Parker (second place) and Emma London (sixth place) also received first-team honors.

The boy’s water polo and girls’ tennis teams deserve special plaudits, as both captured league titles for the second year in a row. Boys’ water polo ended the regular season with an 8-6 victory last Saturday at home against Arroyo Grande, ranked number eight in CIF-SS Division IV. The hard-fought victory put the Sharks at 20-6-1 overall and 9-1 in the Tri-Valley League, good for the program’s eighth league title in school history.

“It was great for this team,” Malibu Coach Michael Mulligan said. “They have battled all year long playing tougher competition. To win a league title after winning it last year was huge for us.”

Trailing 4-2 after the first period, the Sharks’ defense played tremendous the rest of the game, allowing only two goals in the final three quarters. Junior goalie Dane Sartorius had 12 saves and senior Michael Mitze scored the game-winning goal with 1:58 left to play as Malibu registered a big win against a school from a larger division.

The Sharks, seeded number six overall in the CIF-SS Division VI playoffs, will host Hemet High School on Thurs., Nov. 10, at 3 p.m. in the first round. A victory versus the Bulldogs (11-14) would send Malibu to the quarterfinals on Sat., Nov. 12, potentially against Temescal Canyon High School, which is seeded third.

“This was great competition going into CIF,” Jordan Clark, who scored three goals on the afternoon, said after the Arroyo Grande game. “I feel like we can win it.”

Meanwhile, the Sharks’ girls’ tennis team polished off an undefeated 10-0 season in league play for their fifth Tri-Valley League title. They finished the regular season 15-1 overall, the only blemish coming against Santa Monica on Sept. 22. Malibu has won 10 straight matches since that defeat.

“It was really nice to go undefeated in league,” Malibu Coach Bruce Young said. “First time in my 10 years at the school. A great group of girls.”

The talented trio of junior Britta Mosser, sophomore Lauren Louks and freshman Ilana Oleynik will lead the way for Malibu. Mosser recently won the Tri-Valley League singles tennis title held at Pepperdine University, with Louks taking third place. Mosser has also advanced to the CIF Individual Championships, which will take place November 18 at the Cate School in Carpinteria.

Malibu hosts Camarillo High School at 2 p.m. Thursday to kick off the CIF-SS Division III playoffs. The Sharks earned the number three seed overall, and hope to repeat the success of the 2003 and 2004 teams who were Division V champions.

“We are looking forward to the playoffs,” said Young. “We are strong and healthy.”

Finally, the Malibu girls’ volleyball team (17-6, 8-2) hosted Bishop Conaty of Los Angeles (4-7) in a first-round CIF-SS Division IVA home playoff match this past Tuesday as this story went to press. A victory would advance the Sharks to a probable second-round matchup against number four seed Fairmont Prep this Thursday at a site to be determined.

“I feel that this team has worked hard to get a first round game and I’m very proud of our development this season,” Malibu Coach Carlos Gray said. “Once you get in the playoffs, who knows what will happen.”