The first full month of the fall season wrapped up for Trinity League sports teams and individuals, and they continue to produce storylines in all shapes and sizes.
The Mater Dei football team went 3-0 in the month of September with one-sided victories against teams from Arizona, Baltimore and Washington D.C., allowing the Monarchs to maintain their No. 1 national ranking.
Servite capped the month with their best win of the nonleague portion of the schedule, knocking off Sherman Oaks Notre Dame 16-13.
Notre Dame came in ranked No. 10 in CIF-SS Division 1/2, while the Friars were unranked.
JSerra also went 3-0 in September, and Santa Margarita capped the month with back-to-back shutouts against Lakewood Mayfair and Stellar Prep of Hayward, Calif.
The most eye-catching win in September likely belonged to the Rosary girls’ volleyball team, which knocked off visiting JSerra in five games on Sept 24 to earn their first Trinity League win in eight years, a streak of 59 matches.
The Royals won the first game against JSerra 25-18 before dropping the second 23-25.
Sophia Lambros then served back-to-back aces to complete a 26-24 win in Game 4. The Lions pushed the match to a fifth game after winning 10-25, but Rosary regrouped to take the deciding game 15-11 behind four blocks and three kills from Sophia Degrassi.
The Mater Dei and Santa Margarita boys’ water polo teams also established themselves as the teams to beat in the Trinity League. Their only league meeting was Oct. 16 at Santa Margarita.
The Monarchs and Eagles each competed at the Santa Barbara and South Coast tournaments during September.
Santa Margarita was seeded second and Mater Dei third among 24 teams in Santa Barbara, but it was the Monarchs who advanced to the championship game before losing 11-7 to Loyola of Los Angeles.
Mater Dei, the defending Trinity League and state champion, finished fourth at the South Coast tournament and Santa Margarita was sixth.
Mater Dei lost in the semifinals before also going down in the third-place game to Huntington Beach. Max Rossi scored four goals in the third-place game for the Monarchs.
Santa Margarita bounced back from its disappointing performances at the two tournaments to beat Foothill 9-6 at the Newport Harbor Showcase on Sept. 28.
Santa Margarita’s 6-foot-7 goalie Will Kieckhafer stood tall and made 18 saves while fellow senior Wyatt Clark scored four goals.
“We’ve played good games against good teams, bad games against bad teams so we just had to come out and play our way,” Kieckhafer told the OC Register.
The Trinity League also provided a preview of what to expect at the cross-country league finals later this fall.
The league held their annual prelim meet on Sept. 27 at Central Park in Huntington Beach and Anthony Grover of JSerra, the two-time defending Division IV state champion, was the runaway winner in the boys’ race.
Grover completed the 3-mile course in 14 minutes 53.5 seconds, 40 seconds faster than the second-place finisher.
The Lions also won the team title by placing four runners in the top 10.
Sophia Gutierrez (17:58.4) and Nicole Meyer (18:24) of Orange Lutheran took the top two spots in the girls’ varsity race, helping the Lancers win the team title by 28 points over JSerra.