After finishing the season fourth in the Mission League, the boys’ volleyball team defied expectations by entering CIF Playoffs with a 7-5 league record. The Wolverines’ hope of a CIF run was ended early when they were swept 3-0 in the first round of CIF play May 13 by Corona del Mar High School, ranked fifth in the nation.
“I thought we did a really great job improving and competing,” Head Coach Adam Black said. “Our guys never gave up, especially when times were tough. They stayed together and stayed the course.”
Despite suffering a sweep at the hands of the Sea Kings, the Wolverines were able to remain competitive in the second set due to their defense, which got the team within seven points, but they eventually fell 25-18. The Sea Kings were able to progress all the way to the CIF Semifinals, but were defeated by Wolverines’ league rival Loyola in five sets.
The Wolverines fell to the Cubs twice this year during league play.
“We were a bit intimidated but also excited when we heard that we would play Corona Del Mar in the first round of CIF playoffs,” Hudson Ling ’15 said. “The game took place at their home, which notoriously attracts many Corona del Mar fans.
“Although they’re ranked fifth in the nation, we battled and never gave up. We wanted to put up a fight for our boy Bryan Polan [’14], who played his final volleyball game on his birthday that day in Newport Beach.”
Despite the squad missing seven seniors from last year and lacking the height they used last year to make a quarterfinals run, the Wolverines were able to play as a cohesive unit and end the season with a record above .500 in the Mission League.
“Although our team as a whole was the youngest the program has seen in a while, our team also proved extremely mature and tenacious,” Ling said. “In terms of size and experience, we were at a disadvantage, comprising of only two seniors. However, smart play and mindful practices showed drastic improvement from the beginning of the season. Next year’s squad will be almost identical to this year’s, so the fraternity we were able to build this year will lead to a very strong start next year.”
The Wolverines were able to play many young players on their team this year since there were only two seniors on the team.
The four juniors, Brad Comisar ’15, Scott Nussbaum ’15, Nico Lubkeman ’15 and Ling were able to get key minutes and gain experience this season that could potentially help with their chemistry next season.
“The two seniors that we are losing, Eliott [Sassouni ’14] and Bryan, filled roles that were important to our team by position and cohesiveness,” Black said. “Their presence will be missed. With that said we do look forward to continue building on 2014 as we head into next season with the returning players. The experience gained from this year will only enhance our performance next year.”
“As the only returning senior on the team, I have learned to appreciate all the hard work and dedication it takes to not only improve as a volleyball player, but also to build the integral relationships with the other guys to improve as a team,” Sassouni said. “I don’t know if I have a particular moment that stands out to me as a highlight of the season, but every time we took the court, we are more than just individuals playing our respective roles. We are one unit that played volleyball like a well-oiled machine, and as the only returning senior and a veteran, it was really awesome to see our team gel as well as it did.”