The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The Wilson boys’ volleyball team continued its perfect tear through the Moore League Thursday evening at LBCC, wrapping up a perfect 12-0 league slate with a sweep of Lakewood, 25-9, 25-17, 25-23.
The Bruins (27-2, 12-0) repeat as undefeated league champs, although star senior Leo Pravednikov did note that, unlike last year, the Bruins did drop a few sets this season.
“We’re fired up, we’ve been looking forward to this all year,” said Pravednikov, a UCSD commit. “We have a really good mix of young talented players and seniors this year.”
The Bruins are the defending CIF-SS Division 3 champions, and are in the Division ½ pool this year, right on the border between divisions. It’s been a topic of conversation among the team and coaches.
“It’s not in our control,” said Pravednikov. “There’s a lot of great teams in D1 and D2–we’re confident that we can make a run, we’re just going to wait and see what happens.”
In addition to Pravednikov, the reigning Moore League Player of the Year, first-year coach Chris Ceballos said that the Bruins have been boosted by freshman Marek Turner, and the continued development of sophomore Ian Nolte.
“Having a freshman like Marek Turner to fill the voids that we lost form last year, and Ian Nolte getting even bigger and taller and refining his skills even more,” said Ceballos. “The talent all the way around on this team is incredible. I’ve been blessed to have the team, and these kids are just great young men, they handle themselves professionally. They have fun, but they know how to stay focused.”
With the departure of longtime coach Jeremy Cook following last season, there was certainly some trepidation about how the Bruins would handle that transition. But Ceballos’ tenure has been smooth so far.
“He has a ton of experience and he feels like one of us,” said Pravednikov. “He understands us, he’s someone you can go to when you need to talk. He’s helped all of us out a lot.”
The Bruins added a Valley Christian match next week to stay loose before the playoffs, which will begin the week following Spring Break. The CIF-SS playoff brackets will come out the morning of Monday, April 25. With 8-12 teams slotted for Division 1, the Bruins truly are right on the bubble, ranked No. 11 in the Division ½ pool.