St. Anthony boys’ volleyball enters this week’s CIF Southern Section Division 4 playoffs as the tournament’s No. 1 seed, the favorites to win a CIF championship and to add another trophy to their case, which already includes a third consecutive Camino Real League championship.
A big reason for the Saints’ success is junior captain Aidan Grosz, a rare talent at the Division 4 level who is one of the top college recruits in his class. Local sports fans will be happy to learn that he’s committed to Long Beach State; he’ll join this year’s NCAA champions for the 2020 season.
“I finally got one,” said Saints coach Alicia Lemau’u, a Long Beach native and diehard local volleyball fan. “I’ll have a player I can ride my bike to see in college.”
Grosz has turned plenty of heads this year, putting up big stats in every category whether it’s digging the ball, killing it, or blocking. He’s also very clear about what his goal for the year is.
“We want to win CIF,” he said. “It would be huge for us.”
Grosz has already gotten to taste championship glory, having won an historic CIF title with the school’s football team two seasons ago. After committing to Long Beach State, Grosz has chosen to focus on volleyball going forward, although he said he loved playing football.
“I always knew I’d have to pick one eventually,” he said.
Lemau’u is glad he’s sticking with volleyball, and said she sees a bright future for him in the sport.
“He’s a special kid, he’s one of the best I’ve gotten to be around,” she said. “The poise, the humility—it’s hard to believe a kid could be so mature at 16. I’ve really been blessed to have him in the program.”
If all goes according to plan, Grosz could end up with a unique career, winning championships in two sports at St. Anthony, then joining a perennial national championship contender at the NCAA level, all without leaving town.
“He’s a Long Beach kid all the way,” said Lemau’u.
TONIGHT: CIF VOLLEYBALL ROUND ONE, 6 p.m.
No. 2 Lakewood vs. Channel Islands
Wilson vs. Simi Valley
No. 1 St. Anthony vs. Sage Hill