The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

From L to R: Cicely Bunker, Serena Arriola, Cameron Maris and the Dana Hills girls volleyball team are hoping a tough nonleague schedule will prepare them for the South Coast League. Photo: Steve Breazeale
From L to R: Cicely Bunker, Serena Arriola, Cameron Maris and the Dana Hills girls volleyball team are hoping a tough nonleague schedule will prepare them for the South Coast League. Photo: Steve Breazeale

Dolphins take to the courses and courts

By Steve Breazeale

In the second installment of our Dana Hills High School fall sports preview, we highlight the Dolphins’ boys and girls cross country, girls volleyball and girls tennis teams. To read the first part of our fall sports preview, visit

For in-game updates, scores, news and more for all of the Dolphins fall sports programs, follow us on Twitter @SouthOCsports.

Girls Volleyball

Last Season: 12-20 overall. Placed third in league and advanced to the first round of the CIF-SS Division 1AA Championships.

Players to Watch: Ayla Fresenius, Emily Likins, Serena Arriola

Circle ‘em: 10/1 @ Tesoro; 10/13 @ San Clemente


Seven games into their season and the Dana Hills girls volleyball team has been in the thick of their matches. They have only one win to show for their efforts, but head coach Mark Rivadeneyra believes that the breakthrough will happen soon.

Rivadeneyra, who is entering his second season at the helm, likened the start of the Dolphins season to the heatwave that swept through the southland last week. At the Dave Mohs Tournament, which ran Sept. 11-12, the Dolphins went 1-3 in pool play. Six of the 10 total sets the Dolphins played in were decided by three points or less and the Dolphins, by way of unforced errors and the occasional bad bounce, found themselves on the wrong side of those close games.

Three of the Dolphins first seven opponents were ranked inside the CIF-SS Division 1AA top-10.

“Like the weather, (bad breaks) are going to happen. The heat wave is going to go away,” Rivadeneyra said. “It’s those little things. It can’t stay like this. I have the confidence that we’ll turn it around.”

The Dolphins return four starters from last year’s team and are loaded with talent at the outside hitter position. Leading the outside hitters will be senior Ayla Fresenius, who paced the team with 142 kills as a junior. Senior Cicley Bunker, who was second on the team in kills last year, also returns to the position.

The Dolphins will have a tall front line at their disposal this year. Seniors Cameron Maris and Emily Likins and sophomore Rosie Ballo all stand at 6 feet 1 inch or taller and all three will play middle blocker or opposite. Fresenius, who stands 6-1, will add to the Dolphins imposing front-line size.

Senior setter Serena Arriola is dealing with a leg injury, the extent of which is not known. With Arriola sidelined, freshman Drae Fresenius has stepped in and is logging major minutes. Junior Nicole Hughes, who Rivadeneyra said has been the team’s most improved player, will play libero.

Season Schedule

Date                Opponent                                Location, Time

9/24                 Laguna Beach                          LBHS, 5 p.m.

9/29                 Aliso Niguel                             DHHS, 6 p.m.

10/1*               Tesoro                                     THS, 6 p.m.

10/6*               Capistrano Valley                    DHHS, 6 p.m.

10/9-10                        Torrey Pines Tourn.                 TP, TBA

10/13*             San Clemente                           SCHS, 6 p.m.

10/15*             San Juan Hills                          DHHS, 6 p.m.

10/20*             Tesoro                                     DHHS, 6 p.m.

10/22*             Capistrano Valley                    CVHS, 6 p.m.

10/28*             San Clemente                           DHHS, 6 p.m.

10/30-31          Redondo Classic Tourn.                      RUHS, TBA

11/2*               San Juan Hills                          SJHHS, 6 p.m.

*–denotes league match

Caroline Halloran readies for a serve during a Dana Hills girls tennis practice. Photo: Steve Breazeale
Caroline Halloran readies for a serve during a Dana Hills girls tennis practice. Photo: Steve Breazeale

Girls Tennis

Last Season: Tied for first-place in league and advanced to the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 Championships

Players to Watch: Courtney Swift, Ayla Fresenius, Emilia Gorczyca

Circle ‘em: 10/1 vs. San Clemente; 10/16 @ Santa Barbara


Depth is the name of the game for the Dana Hills girls tennis team heading in to the 2015 season. The Dolphins return four main contributors from their 2014 lineup and have benefited from a freshman, Courtney Swift, who has stepped into the role of the team’s top singles player.

Because of their depth, Dolphins head coach Justin Green said the team’s singles and doubles lineup could look different on any given day, making them a tough matchup.

Ayla Fresenius, Jacklyn Melkonian, Dana Mackensen and Emily Gorczyca all return and on Sept. 16 in a match against Mira Costa, all four played in the doubles lineup.

“Our depth is definitely our strength … we have the same depth (as last year) and the top of our lineup is probably a little bit better,” Green said.

The Dolphins will look to get past rival San Clemente in the South Coast League. The two programs dueled to a draw at the top of the standings in 2014 and, just like the Dolphins, the Tritons return a veteran-heavy team this season.

Season Schedule

Date                Opponent                                Location, Time

9/22*               Capistrano Valley                    DHHS, 3 p.m.

9/24*               Aliso Niguel                             ANHS, 3 p.m.

10/1*               San Clemente                           DHHS, 3 p.m.

10/6*               Tesoro                                     DHHS, 3 p.m.

10/8*               Capistrano Valley                    CVHS, 3 p.m.

10/13*             Aliso Niguel                             DHHS, 3 p.m.

10/14               San Juan Hills                          DHHS, 3 p.m.

10/16               Santa Barbara                          SBHS, 2:30 p.m.

10/17               Dos Pueblos                             SBHS, 11:30 a.m.

10/20*             San Clemente                           SCHS, 3 p.m.

10/22*             Tesoro                                     THS, 3 p.m.

*–denotes league match

Dana Hills boys cross country runners Mason Coppi, left, and Jack Landgraf before a training session. Photo: Steve Breazeale
Dana Hills boys cross country runners Mason Coppi, left, and Jack Landgraf before a training session. Photo: Steve Breazeale

Boys Cross Country

Last Season: Placed first in league, second in the CIF-SS Div. 1 Championships and second at the CIF State Div. 1 Championships

Runners to Watch: Jake Ogden, Mason Coppi

Circle ‘em: 9/26 @ Dana Hills Invit.; 10/17 @ OC Championships


By all measures, the Dana Hills boys cross country team had a successful 2014 season. The Dolphins blew away the field in league competition and placed second at both the CIF-SS Div. 1 Championships and at the CIF State Meet. With six of the team’s top-7 runners from last year returning, head coach Tim Butler expects the team to pick up where they left off one year ago.

With so many veteran runners who are used to competing in the big races at the end of the season, Butler has focused on slowly ramping up his runners’ training sessions so the Dolphins peak mid-season, not in the early going. It is essentially the same approach to training they used last season, but it is not without a few tweaks.

“We have a higher bar this year … the biggest thing is the expectation level. We want to go a little bit further than we did last year,” Butler said.

The Dolphins return a deep and experienced lineup, led by Jake Ogden and Mason Coppi, two seniors who have put together standout high school careers alongside one another.

Ogden continued his upward trend as a junior, placing third as an individual at the CIF-SS Championships and at the State Meet in 2014. Coppi placed 13th at last year’s State Meet and 10th at the CIF-SS Championships. In the offseason, Coppi competed in the 3,000-meter run at the 2015 IAAF World Youth Championship in Cali, Colombia.

Rising sophomore Jack Landgraf, who placed 33rd at CIF-SS in 2014, juniors Thomas Wilfert and Brandon Hough and seniors Matt Konopka and Colin Stein return. The group is battle tested and proven, which Coppi believes adds a dynamic to the team’s training sessions.

“We’re constantly pushing each other (in training) and I think that’s another big key thing that’s going to propel this group forward,” Coppi said. “We can all push each other even though some of us vary in speeds.”

Season Schedule

Date                Opponent                                Location, Time

9/19                 Mt. Carmel Invit./Kualoa Ranch                      San Diego/Hawaii, TBA

9/26                 Dana Hills Invit.                      DHHS, TBA

10/6*               SCL Cluster Meet                     Irvine Regional Park, 8 a.m.

10/17               OC Championships                  Irvine Regional Park, 8 a.m.

10/24               Mt. SAC Invit.                         Mt. SAC, 7:15 a.m.

11/4*               SCL Finals                               Irvine Regional Park, 1 p.m.

11/14               CIF-SS Prelims                         Mt. SAC, TBA

11/21               CIF-SS Finals                           Mt. SAC, TBA

*–denotes league meet


Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (0)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>