Wolverines heat up, poised to clinch league playoff spot

The boys’ volleyball team made it to the semifinals in the Sylmar Varsity Invitational Saturday before losing to the eventual champion Westlake High School.
Last Thursday night’s victory over St. Francis in straight sets gave the Wolverines their sixth victory of their last eight Mission League contests. The team’s current performance is a far cry from how they started league play: back-to-back home losses against Notre Dame and Alemany, each in five sets.
Head Coach Adam Black credited all-around improvement for the turnaround.
“The guys have done a really good job improving their game overall this season,” Black said. “They worked really hard at refining their skills, and they worked really hard implementing them in the games so they can have some success … From the people that play a lot to the people that don’t play a lot, there’s been a lot of improvement with everybody, so it’s been nice to see that.”
One person that is playing a lot is Colin Shannon ’17. Despite being a sophomore, Shannon has the second-most kills on the squad as of press time with 81, trailing only Hudson Ling ‘15 in that category, with 106.
“I think as a team we have improved our ability to play at the net,” Shannon said. “This is our hitting, blocking, but also just scramble plays where the ball is close to the net.”
At 6-4 in league play, the Wolverines are currently tied for third place with Notre Dame. There is still room for even more improvement for the Wolverines, as they are trailing Loyola and Alemany in the Mission League standings.
“The game for us is ‘serve and pass’ and we always want to be good at that,” Black said. We want to make sure that we’re just playing up to our standards, which we’ve been doing a much better job of. If we can continue to play up to those standards, we’re going to do some good things in every match that we play.”
The Wolverines were coming off consecutive wins in straight sets before getting a semifinal appearance in the Sylmar Tournament April 25. Results of Tuesday’s game vs. Chaminade were not available as of press time, but the Eagles were winless in Mission League play entering the competition.
The Wolverines will play their next and final game of the regular season Monday at Loyola.
The Cubs are 19-1 this season, undefeated in Mission League play and ranked second in the U.S. by MaxPreps.
In the meantime, Black is focusing on standards rather than standings.
“We don’t necessarily set a goal on where we want to finish, but how we want to play each and every match,” Black said. “If we meet those standards, then we’re going to be successful no matter what the scoreboard says.”

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