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As the competitors of winter wind down, the throng of spring sports teams take to the field, diamond, pool, court, track and sand.
The spring season features a loaded schedule, with Dana Hills High School fielding a whopping 12 spring squads, compared to the seven teams in each of the winter and fall seasons. Beach volleyball joins the fray for the Dolphins this spring.
While focus at Dana Hills will be on the diamonds, as Dolphins baseball remains one of the school’s marquee programs and softball enters a new era, gold will be the focus on the track, with the Dana Hills distance runners Allura Markow and Evan Noonan looking to carry the fall momentum into the spring.
With those goals and expectations in mind, let’s look at some of the top Dolphin teams in this spring season:
Despite a subpar campaign by Dana Hills’ standards in 2022, Dana Hills’ playoff hopes came down to the final game, where a win at Tesoro would have forced a tie for the third and final playoff spot in the South Coast League.
However, it was a disappointing day for the Dolphins, who are perennially a playoff team in Division 1, and Tesoro went on to clinch a playoff berth, win the CIF-SS Division 4 title and CIF Southern California Division IV Regional championship.
There is a large amount of roster turnover for this year’s Dana Hills squad, which is either good to get some fresh faces after a tough season or bad as the Dolphins rebuild a young group.
Dana Hills graduated six of its top seven RBI producers, nine of its top 11 run-scorers and four of its top five appearance leaders on the mound. Senior Kade Murray is the top returning hitter, and Andrew Nesson is the top returning pitcher.
Dana Hills (2-3) has been up-and-down to open the season. The Dolphins won their season opener over Woodbridge, 5-0, but dropped consecutive games to Long Beach Millikan, 6-1, and La Mirada, 11-1. Dana Hills evened up its record against Vista Murrieta, 4-1, on Tuesday, Feb. 21, but fell back down with a tight loss to Edison, 5-4, on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
The Dolphins host Aliso Niguel in a nonleague game on March 3 and open the South Coast League at home against Tesoro on March 21.
Girls Beach Volleyball
Dana Hills will field its first girls beach volleyball team this season, and as the sport enters its second season as a CIF-sanctioned sport, teams across SoCal now have something extra to look forward to with their first CIF-Southern Section championship playoffs.
For a sport to warrant CIF-SS playoffs, there must be a minimum of 20% of the section’s member schools to field a team. The Southern Section reached that number this season, so there will be both bracketed team playoffs and a pairs tournament.
Dana Hills will also feature a full South Coast League schedule this season, which begins on March 8 against San Clemente at Lasuen Beach, aka Lost Winds, where many South Coast League contests could take place. The Dolphins practice at Doheny State Beach, but their game schedule is still being finalized, as the sport deals with court availability being its biggest issue.
League Finals will be contested at Tesoro on April 14-15, with the first round of the CIF-SS team playoffs on April 27. CIF-SS Finals will be on May 5 or 6, and the pairs tournament finals will be May 9-10.
Beach volleyball is contested with five pairs playing best 3-of-5 matches.
In May, Dana Hills softball coach Brandon Cosenza resigned after nine seasons on the job, and shortly after, Dana Hills welcomed Natalie Mills as the new head coach of the Dolphins. Mills was most recently a coach at Woodbridge High in Irvine.
Mills is inheriting a Dana Hills team that, since the pandemic-canceled season of 2020, hasn’t posted a winning record in the past two seasons, including a 2-16 overall record and winless league record in 2022.
However, it’s also a Dolphins team that has plenty of opportunity for growth, despite losing its top producers in the circle and at the plate.
After its top two hitters last season, four of the next five were sophomores, with the fifth being a junior. Of the five Dolphins who threw from the circle in 2022, only two were seniors.
Dana Hills (2-3) dropped its first two games of the season, but the Dolphins won two of their past three, including a 7-2 win on the road at Garden Grove on Wednesday, Feb. 22.
Dana Hills hosts San Clemente in a nonleague game on March 16 and opens league play at Mission Viejo on March 21.
What a season 2022 was for the Dana Hills boys golf team.
The Dolphins opened with their longest unbeaten run under head coach Glenn Forster. Dana Hills as a team advanced to the CIF-SS Division 1 Finals, finished second at the CIF-SS SCGA state qualifier and seventh at the SoCal championships. The Dolphins had three players qualify as individuals for CIF-SS, with freshman Nick Davis eventually finishing fifth at the CIF SoCal championships and qualifying for state.
Dana Hills returns its top four players from last season, and its top two players, Davis and Nick Fry, were a freshman and a sophomore in 2022. The Dolphins are set up for long-term success.
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