Boys’ Volleyball completes most successful season in program’s history

By Maarten Van-Genabeek
Published: June 2010

The Volleyball team finished this year’s season with a final record of 22-2, the most successful in South’s history.

The team went 19-1 during the regular season and advanced to the Semi Finals of the state tournament.

The team lost three sets to zero against Chicopee Comp High School, which put them out of the running for the state championship. 

The disappointing loss was only one small mark on a successful season for the Lions.

The team graduated a good amount of talent last year, but filled in the lost positions and took its game to the next level.

Jamison Chue and Nadav Swartz, both 2009 Dual County League All-Stars, graduated last year and left large gaps for the team to fill in.

The team, however, adapted well and responded with a very talented line up.

“We lost a lot of good seniors from last year, but coming into the season we had a lot of good players returning and started off strong right away, junior and setter Bryan Cheng said.

The team worked hard to improve over the summer through club volleyball and offseason work.

“We had a lot of returning players and together we all got even better than we were last year at the end of the season, Cheng said. 

From the beginning, the team had high expectations due to the quality of players and their work ethic. The team practiced for three hours late at night, met before games, and participated in ten-hour tournaments.

The team was also at an advantage due to the large amount of talent that other schools lost.

“We expected to win sectionals and states because of the improvement of our team and the overall decrease in talent from last year from all the teams, Hornestein said.

The team cruised through the season, winning game after game, only losing to Cambridge Ringe and Latin School.

They secured the number two seed in the South Division-I bracket. 

The team also did very well at a tournament in Rhode Island, finishing runner-up in the gold division.

“A key moment [in the season] was during the Rhode Island tournament when we went to the finals and almost won, which showed we could compete with the best, Hornestein said.

South first faced Brookline at home, and a strong South team breezed to an easy victory of 3-0.

They then faced Needham, which also ended in a c onvincing South win of 3-1.

“The only way we could not win the state tournament is if we beat ourselves, junior and outside hitter Matt Light said.

After winning the first two rounds of the state tournament, the team booked a place to the sectional finals against cross-town rival Newton North.

The showdown took place at Natick High School, with South easily beating its opponent 3-0.

This proved to be an important victory, as South was headed to the semifinals, and clinched the South sectional title.

“It was great to beat North because they are a cross-town rival and [beating them proved] that we could win this year without the seniors from last season, Hornestein said. 

The team looks to improve upon its performance and win the state tournament next year.

Even though it is losing many talented senior players, the team is determined to overcome the challenge. Most members are doing offseason work and playing at the club level to help prepare themselves for next season.

“We’re going to get most of the team to play club teams together. This should help build team chemistry, Cheng said.

Next year all eyes will be on them as they look to sustain success from previous years, and will be led by 2011 captains Jeff Hodin, Bryan Cheng, and Josh Hornestein.

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