Volleyball makes late CIF exit

Boys’ volleyball in southern California has been traditionally dominated by Orange County schools and Mission League rival Loyola. However,  this year the Wolverines have broken into the fraternity of traditional volleyball powerhouses with an appearance in the CIF Division I quarterfinals.

Earning the seventh seed with a 22-7 record and a Mission League championship, the Wolverines easily rolled through their first two rounds of playoffs defeating Servite in three games and Peninsula in four. Outside hitter Sean Dennis ’07 lead the charge against Peninsula with a career high 28 kills. Reaching the quarterfinals was a major breakthrough for the Wolverines, who fell in the second round of playoffs last year and didn’t make it out of the first round the previous two years.

However, the Wolverines run stopped in the quarterfinals by second-seeded and eventual champion Esperanza of Anaheim.

In the first two games, the Aztecs looked unstoppable as they precisely converted their sideouts en route to 25-21, 25-9 victories.

However, the Wolverines made an adjustment and fought back to take the third game 25-20. Dennis began taking charge of the match, as he recorded the majority of his 18 kills in the third game.

“We changed the way we were serving them,” Harvard-Westlake coach Nigel Dookhoo said. “We had to do something. They were siding out way too easily.”

The Aztecs started to become flustered as they started missing their serves and the crowd got back into the match. The Wolverines took a 12-11 lead in the fourth game, but that was the last time they led the entire season. The Aztecs attack, which featured five seniors who will be playing NCAA Division I volleyball next season, proved to be too much down the stretch.

“Anytime you lose it hurts, and it is especially difficult for all the seniors because this is our last match,” outside hitter Thomas McAndrews ’07 said. “But I’m so proud about how hard we fought against a team with superior talent. We have nothing to hang our heads on and we have to remember how much we accomplished this year.”

The accomplishments for the Wolverines didn’t just feature a run to the quarterfinals, but also included an 11-1 league record ending Loyola’s 10-year reign as Mission League champions.