Perfect through its first three matches in Mission League play, the boys’ volleyball team is on its way to locking up a playoff spot and earning a relatively high playoff seed even with more than half of the season still on the schedule.
Even with Head Coach Adam Black experimenting with different starting lineups this early in the season, the team has found its mojo early.
“It’s our best start in a while,” Mike Hart ’13 said. “I don’t remember the last time we started 3-0 in league, but it’s for sure a good start for the season.”
A win in four sets at Crespi and victories while playing host to Notre Dame in five and Chaminade in three had the Wolverines tied for first place in league standings with Loyola as of press time.
The Wolverines finished 8-4 in the league last year, settling for third place behind a 12-0 Loyola and an 8-4 Crespi that won a tiebreaker to snag 2nd place for playoff seeding purposes.
The second place spot in league standing would have guaranteed the Wolverines home court advantage in the first round of CIF playoffs, but the tiebreaker loss forced the Wolverines onto the road for a 3-1 loss at Huntington Beach in the first round.
With a win already against Crespi, but Loyola still on the schedule, the Wolverines are on par to finish at least in 2nd place in league standings.
“I think Coach Black should be very happy with his team right now,” Hugo de Castro-Aberger ’13 said. “We are looking like a second place team in the Mission League. Our mission is second place in the league.”
With losses outside of the league to Redondo Union in straight sets and St. John Bosco in five, the Wolverines have had less success against the more competitive teams in various leagues around the Southern Section of CIF.
However, only the league standings at the end of the regular season factor into decisions about playoff seedings.
The Wolverines hosted Alemany, a team they beat twice last year, yesterday, but results were unavailable as of press time.
Tomorrow, the Wolverines battle at St. Francis, who they split with last year.
“In recent years, we’ve had a tendency to go into St. Francis and underestimate them, so we’re going to have to try to get the energy up and just crush them this time,” Hart said.
The Wolverines have been dealt a significant blow with an injury to Hart, who is out indefinitely with knee problems. Brad Comisar ’15 will step into Hart’s spot as starting libero, Eric Dritely ’13 will move from opposite to setter in place of Comisar, and de Castro-Aberger will take over for Dritely as starting opposite.
Beau McGinley ’13, who has played both middle blocker and defensive specialist, says that the team will rely on its versatility and starting outside hitter Chase Klein ’13 while Hart is out.
“We got a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things like Eric [Dritley], Brad [Comisar], me, we play different positions all the time,” McGinley said.
“You’d think it’s bad, but it’s actually not because we are a very versatile lineup. And we have Chase. He’s kind of a horse, so everything almost revolves around him,” McGinley said.
After St. Francis, the team travels to UC Santa Barbara over the weekend for the Dos Pueblos Tournament then visits Loyola on Tuesday, March 19. Black said that the Cubs are favored to win the league ahead of the Wolverines and that the team is really shooting for second place in league.
“No one wants to get second, but we know sometimes with the reality of Loyola,” Black said. “But hey, who knows.”
The team’s last game before Spring Break will be at non-league opponent Oaks Christian on Wednesday, March 20.
After some time off during Spring break, the team will commence its second run through the league schedule in preparation for playoffs.