Volleyball aims for sectional title

Volleyball aims for sectional title

Marley Hambourger

SETTING STAR: Focused on the ball, junior Alex Alwan makes a set to a teammate while playing New Trier. In this game, the Titans lost in three sets (25-27, 25-23, 17-25).

Joe Lee, staff writer

With a record of 14-15 and one game left in the regular season, the men’s volleyball team is looking to end the season strong as they prepare for the playoffs.
According to head coach Tim Monohan, the varsity squad kicked off the season with a great win against Stevenson, which gave the team strong momentum for their next couple of games.
“We beat them in two sets 25-14 and 25-11,” Monohan said. “The boys just came out really strong and ready to play. They played with a lot of energy and they never gave Stevenson a chance to get in the game.”
However, the Titans lost their rivalry game against GBN which immediately impacted their roster, according to Monohan.
“[The team’s rotation] cycled a little bit and we were making adjustments,” Monohan said. “We had new players filling in and we got through all that. We are in a good place now.”
More recently, the game against Loyola was the kind of competition that the team was hoping for in terms of excitement, according to junior Pawel Rafalo.
“Although we eventually lost, there was certainly a high level of intensity on the court from both sides,” Rafalo said.
According to junior Shan Kadalimattom, the high level of intensity doesn’t only affect the games, but it also helps the team realize what they need to accomplish.
“Some expectations are going back to state,” Kadalimattom said. “I know everyone’s hungry for that state championship title, and we want to show everyone we’re not just a one-year team.”
Rafalo pointed out that the team started out with realistic goals, but hopes to push beyond their limits by the end of the season.
“[Our goal is to get] the sectional title,” Rafalo said. “But we’d be extremely happy if we went as far as the team did last year, which was fourth in state.”
According to senior Anthony Lebryk, the Titans are focusing on improving as much as they can with the time ticking down before the playoffs begin.
“During practice we just work on the basics with serving, blocking and passing,” Lebryk said. “Those are the three fundamental platforms for volleyball.”
Monahan, however, states that the toughest opponenents of the year are yet to come with just a couple of games left in the season.
“Our biggest match-up in the playoffs will come in the Regional Championship,” Monohan said. “We should be playing Loyola, which is the team we beat last year to go to the State Tournament.”
Junior Ben Wiberg said that overall, the team has been superb this season and thinks that they will excel through the playoffs.
“I think there’s a lot of potential to go far this year,” Wiberg said. “We have a lot of great guys and some fantastic athletes.”
Monohan believes that the team will be able to tear through the playoffs as they did last year.
“[We need] to keep getting better, tighten things up, keep our goal focused towards the post-season, which is where we are heading […],” Monohan said.
The Titans hit their home court one last time with a win against Waukegan on May 15 before the post-season started.