Boys’ volleyball sweeps Newbury Park in playoff opener

Luke Holthouse

Sweeping an opponent that players said was on par with the Wolverines, the boys’ volleyball team advanced to the second round of Division I CIF playoffs with a three-set win over Newbury Park tonight. The Wolverines earned the home-court match to open playoffs after finishing in second place in league standings then capitalized on the energy from the home crowd in Taper Gymnasium en route to the win.

“We set out the season with two goals: be second in league and win a playoff game,” outside hitter Chase Klein ’13 said. “We accomplished two of those but there’s no reason we can’t go on in this tournament. We’re playing our best ball of the season.”

Klein said the Wolverines, who came in as the 16-seed and the favorite against the 17-seed Panthers, expected a five-set dog fight from Newbury Park after the Wolverines narrowly beat the Panthers at the Dos Pueblos Tournament. However, he said the Wolverines came in with a great game plan.

“They played us pretty tough in the tournament earlier this season, but we looked at video and we saw a lot of their tendencies and we game planned this game better than we’ve game planned any game this season,” he said.

The challenge ahead for the team is Mira Costa, the top seed in the 32-team playoff and the defending Division I CIF Champion. A coin flip will determine the location of the game against Mira Costa on Thursday after Mira Costa swept El Toro in its playoff opener, Head Coach Adam Black said.

“It’s going to be a challenge,” Klein said. “I personally believe that their the best team in the state, if not the nation, but I know all the guys personally and I think we can give them a run.”