Boys’ Volleyball Loses Experience, Gains Big Rookie Class

Mariel Rossi deVries, Lifestyle Editor

After losing 11 players to graduation, this year’s boys’ volleyball program will start the year with 21 new athletes. In fact, the number of rookies tying out for the teams has prompted the coaches to add a frosh-soph squad for the 2017 spring season.

“[It’s] an exciting outlook for the future and we relate the interest to the positive culture our old players and returners have set forth, making it an attractive option for others to join,” said boys varsity volleyball coach Dave Chen. Chen, who has coached the team since 2008, was hoping that there would eventually be enough interest to expand the program.

 “We had such depth and potential in the athletes that came out that we jumped on the opportunity to start a frosh/soph team.  We may never get this opportunity again, so we wanted to keep as many as we could to help the program grow,” added Chen.

Chen is counting on the 4 veteran players on varsity to set an example for the younger teammates.  He said that last year’s team “worked extremely hard and had an unmatched passion for the game.” Aside from setting a good example, Chen said that training will improve the new team’s stamina and foster a driven mindset. He hopes that by the end of the season, the 21 new teammates will have reached the previous year’s level of competency.

Chen also emphasized that, as much as individual skill and commitment is important, team unity is of equal necessity.

“Last year we had 11 seniors and they all left. They all had- I don’t want to bash them- but they had attitudes. This year’s team is new, so they have a fresh energy to play volleyball,” said senior Matt Lai of the varsity team.

Lai said that the plan is to get their younger teammates involved. “Once they are more experienced, then we’ll have a lot to work with,” he added.

The team won their 1st tournament on February 25 against De La Salle. “I think all of us are pretty close with each other. At the tournament we were joking around,” said senior Gage Worsley. “I think that we’re going to be a solid team, and obviously chemistry is a big part of that,” he added.

This year’s varsity squad is diverse in terms of grade level; there are currently 2 seniors, 4 juniors, 5 sophomores, and 1 freshman on the team, with several athletes still waiting to be assessed. Although he is new to the team, being the only freshman, Phu-Quy Ho has played club volleyball for 6 years. “He’s been playing club for a long time. He’s not the tallest guy, but he has a lot of heart and he can play really really well,” said Lai.

Ho said that, although it is his first year on the team, he has noticed that there have been improvements and more enthusiasm during tryouts. “I feel like it’s been a pretty good start to the season. I don’t know how it will be later on, because not everybody’s going to be there for each tournament,” said Ho. He added that while the team is strong on offense, it’s defense needs work.

After last year’s varsity team placed 4th in North Coast Section playoffs, the team hopes to win NCS and NorCal.We’re pretty good this year, I think we could make it all the way,” said Worsley.

“We are hoping to go undefeated but I don’t know how that will be. We have a chance, I think,” said Ho.

“We love the players we have in our program.  Not only do we think they have great potential to improve, if they work hard enough for it, but we see that they bring an excitement and energy to the program,” added Chen.

Chen expects that the additional frosh soph squad will continue to generate interest in volleyball on campus. “Hopefully this new group will help to bridge the gap and start a trend which keeps the program strong for years to come.”