The Wilson boys’ volleyball team has been the class of the city this year, and coming into Tuesday’s Moore League championship match at Long Beach Poly the Bruins were undefeated without dropping a set. In fact, only one team had even reached 20 points against Wilson, in a single set.
Tuesday, the Bruins got their best test of the season yet from a physical Jackrabbits team, but still prevailed with another sweep, 25-15, 28-26, 25-23.
“I’m so, so proud of them,” said Wilson boys’ volleyball coach Jeremy Cook. “Our seniors, they’ve been wanting a league championship since they got here and they finally got it. We’ve got a great group of seniors and I’m glad to see they finally got one.”
The victory clinches an outright league title for the Bruins, who have just one match remaining in the regular season, at Cabrillo on Saturday. It’s the first league championship for Wilson since 2017.
“We’re feeling great,” said junior Leo Pravednikov, who led the Bruins with 19 kills. “We knew we had something special from the beginning so we just had to focus on doing it one game at a time.”
Pravednikov and Cook both said with playoffs looming, they were glad to see the Bruins get a tougher test on Tuesday.
“We haven’t really seen anything like that, it pushed us,” said Pravednikov. “When you play against a better challenge your own game levels up.”
The Bruins had an easy time in the first set thanks to shaky serve/receive from the Jackrabbits, who struggled to catch the tempo of Wilson’s aggressive jumpserves. Fourteen of the Bruins’ first 38 points in the match came on aces or Poly service errors, and Wilson’s excellent service resulted in 11 aces on the night, three apiece from Pravednikov, Ben Wilson, and Bryce Lowery, plus a pair from Payne Lounsbery.
The second set was much tighter, with a 6-0 service run from Poly senior setter Nathan Cheav giving the Jackrabbits a 21-18 lead. Wilson ended up prevailing in extra points in the deuce set on a block from Max Cherin and Lounsbery, and a kill from Pravednikov. Poly led 20-18 in the third set as well before the Bruins were able to bear down and finish it off, including winning a marathon crazy point to tie it at 20.
Wilson was led by Pravednikov (19 kills, three aces, one block), Fletcher Garrett (11 kills, two blocks), Ian Nolte (five kills, two blocks), and Lounsbery (five kills, two aces, three blocks).
Poly showed off its physicality at the net with eight blocks. Malcolm King had 10 kills to lead Poly, backed up by eight from Robert Jones.
Wilson is ranked No. 4 in CIF-SS Division 3, while Poly is ranked No. 9.