A promising boys’ volleyball season came to an abrupt and surprising end on Thursday evening, as Lakewood, Wilson, and St. Anthony were all knocked out of the second round of the playoffs. The Lancers were seeded No. 2 in Division 2 and the Saints were No. 1 in Division 4.
Wilson had a great showing against Mission Viejo but fell in five sets, 26-24, 27-29, 25-20, 22-25, 15-11.
“We saw what we expected from them,” said Wilson coach Jeremy Cook. “I thought we played well, we just had another level in us that we didn’t get to.”
The first set was back and forth, as Wilson’s Payne Lounsbery and Jack Hughes served up big runs for the Bruins that put them up 16-12.
But the power of the Diablos’ big swingers in Andrew Kim and middle Caleb Parham brought them back with an 8-2 run and eventually put them up 24-22. Wilson deuced it after a net error by Mission and a big kill from Robby Metscher, but the Diablos took the next two points to win the set.
The second set was just as tight, with the Diablos fighting off two set points before taking the lead and putting Wilson up against the wall. Wilson got kills from Josh Lambert and Metscher to fight off set poits and then eventually won it 29-27. The third set went to the Diablos easily after a 7-0 run with Chad Carter serving, but Wilson showed grit in the fourth, rallying back after trailing 16-13 with their season on the line.
Early errors in the fifth put the Bruins in a 7-3 hole that was too large to limb out of, however, and the Diablos prevailed, advancing to Saturday’s quarterfinals.
Cook was pleased with the development he saw in his team, which featured almost no varsity experience prior to this season.
“Early in the year we lost a lot of winnable matches, the team was very inexperienced,” he said. “We got going at the right time, we finished the league schedule 6-0 in the second round.”
Lambert finished with 16 kills to lead the Bruins, backed up by 14 from Metscher. Lounsbery added 10 kills while Alex Witz had eight.
Murrieta Valley def. St. Anthony 3-1 > The Saints were expected to have a long stay in the playoffs but fell in four sets on the road, 26-24, 21-25, 26-24, 25-15.
Saddleback Valley def. Lakewood 3-1 > The Lancers also lost a four-set upset on the road to end their season.