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The Royal Courier

Boys volleyball team aces their season

Rebecca Margolin

Although it was a close match, the Highlanders of Royal High School defeated El Camino’s boys varsity volleyball team at their home game 1-3, March 7, leaving them hungering for a rematch. El Camino would soon make an unexpected comeback at Cal Lutheran leaving all including themselves in triumphant disbelief.
“The Royal game wasn’t our best performance but it also wasn’t our worst,” senior Jake Morales said. “We lacked some skills at first but we were not going to give up so fast.”
Coming in with confidence in their first set was not enough, Royal High School would end up taking the lead with a score of 25-14.
“Mainly we felt frustrated by some of the errors and that we couldn’t seem to make a comeback during the game,” senior Devin Johnson said. “[However] we kept it close and that’s what kept our energy up and motivated us to persevere and make it a challenge instead of a dispiriting thing.”
The boys volleyball team would often huddle up as many times as possible, showing how they would not lose without a fight; losing the first set was a wake-up call for them to pick it up in the next three sets.
“We put 100% in the second set and successfully beat them 25-21,” Morales said. “This is when we knew that this team was not an impossible team to overcome.”
Throughout the game, there were a few captivating and promising comebacks made by our school’s team, which almost entirely consisted of blocks and a few defensive plays. Junior Jackson Riepe who played middle (M), Johnson who played outside hitter (OH) and Morales playing opposite hitter (OPP), all blocked their opponents successfully with one solo block from Morales during their fourth and final set and several joust blocks from all three.
“We made sure to celebrate every point and stay in the game,” Johnson said.
By maintaining this positive mindset and attitude the team would also win a point with a strategic play that began with a perfect dig from senior Anthony Carrillo and a kill by junior setter Ronan Varga.
Still, in the last sets, El Camino could not catch a lead and was defeated with a finishing score of 25-20.
“There was a tournament that we were at, at Cal Lutheran, and we played against Royal HS and they beat us [there],” senior John Paul Balon said. ”We got our revenge and beat them in [the] finals and took first place. [That was] my favorite memory from the season, winning the tournament at Cal Lutheran.”
The team’s perseverance throughout the season would lead them to start winning games and the morale of the team going up.
“I am satisfied with my team’s performance. We’re all doing pretty good and we’re all getting better and I can see it.” junior Rishi Mistry said.
The performance of the boys’ volleyball team has been notable with a 5-2 record in league play. This puts them third in the West Valley Volleyball League, only behind Chatsworth High School and Granada Hills High School in the standings. They are getting ready for upcoming playoff action which starts soon.
“I think that we are putting ourselves into a good spot for [the] playoffs and hopefully we can call it a big run at the end of the season,” junior Tyler Lee said.
Going into the playoffs the team has been on fire and their successes in the regular season can propel them to new heights. Good team performance comes from the perfect execution of their plays which help them win sets and eventually games.
“We run this trick play, it is called an X play,” junior Adam Gars said. “The outside hitter and the middle hitter switch spots, kind of tricks the blockers on the other side, it is usually effective.”
The success of specific plays can only be performed by having team chemistry, which allows them to do well on and off the volleyball court.
“I’d say [the chemistry] is pretty good, most of my teammates are pretty good friends of mine,” Cruz said.
With everyone working together by holding each other responsible, connections are built between teammates which helps them bond and as a result execute better on the court. Being on the volleyball team has also helped the players build friendships with others on the team and create leaders out of every player.
“I think we’re all leaders because we all support each other and keep each other accountable,” Varga said.
Leadership within the team has led to a great environment between them. Thus accordingly, they have had many great results throughout the season.
“We could be better for sure. I think we have a lot of room to grow as well,” Varga said. “But we are always improving so there’s more to come.”

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Estephanie Lopez
Estephanie Lopez, Staff Writer
Oliver Yuval
Oliver Yuval, Staff Writer
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