Ben Hannani, Print Feature Editor
After months of practice and high aspirations, the boys’ varsity volleyball team’s season concluded with a second round CIF loss at home against Bolsa Grande on May 10. The match lasted the maximum five sets with the Normans on the losing end of a 15-13 decisive fifth set. Despite a prolonged match and close outcome, members of the squad thought the team should have performed better.
“The team did not perform very well,” junior Jack Sternshein said. “We were a much better team and should have swept Bolsa Grande.”
“I believe we could have performed a whole lot better throughout the game,” junior Lucas Wohl said. “In the last game we came back to tie it up, but the ref called a ridiculous call to end the game.”
Following the game, the team was involved in an emotional locker room recap. Seniors were particularly disappointed by the loss, which marked the end of their high school volleyball careers. Amidst lofty postseason goals, the early CIF exit was particularly shocking for the players.
“The locker room after the last game was honestly awful,” Wohl said. “Everyone was in complete utter shock. Once it hit us, we all were extremely sad, some tears did come and we treed it up for the last time.”
Although the team did not meet its expectations, it did find some solace in notable performances. The Normans nearly defeated Santa Monica, prolonging the match to a full five sets alongside a hostile road crowd. The squad also found solace in winning a set against Pacific Palisades High School, a particularly strong team.
“Sticking with [Santa Monica] till game five was very enjoyable and a lot of fun to be a part of,” Sternshein said.
With regards to strategy, the team often achieved great success when it utilized its middle hitters, senior Hamzat Agaba and junior Eli Lloyd. Off the court, the players enjoyed a close relationship, according to Wohl.
“[Compared] to last year’s squad, we definitely were more committed and a closer bonding team,” Wohl said.
The future is promising for the boys’ volleyball team. Assistant coach and class of ’03 alumnus Carlon Haywood has established a club volleyball team, which will practice during the summer, to further develop the boys’ skills. The opportunity for additional practice and game experience has excited the returning players.
“Rebuilding on our progress for next season will be hard, but I think we can do it,” Wohl said. “We just need tons of practice and players to play club over the summer. With dedication and practice, I believe anything is possible.”