The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009
The Long Beach Wilson boys volleyball team began its quest for back-to-back titles Saturday night when the Bruins took on Foothill in the CIF Southern Section Division 2 second round.
It’s the second straight season the Bruins faced the Knights in the playoffs and just like Wilson did in the semifinals last season, they did it again as they swept Foothill 25-21, 25-20, 25-20.
Wilson (32-4) advances to take on San Marcos in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The Bruins were led by senior Leo Pravednikov and freshman phenom Marek Turner who combined for 18 kills throughout the match.
“Our team is relatively new,” Pravednikov said. “There were new bonds we had to make, but we’ve pretty much stayed the same. We really just tried to prepare before the game and talk about their players, their hitters.”
In the first two sets, Wilson four-point leads but the Foothill stormed back in each set to tie the game.
After being tied at 20, the Bruins went on a 5-1 lead a lift from Turner, Pravednikov or Max Cherin to pull away for the victory.
“It’s good playing with all the guys who are back on the team,” Turner said. They’re experienced and it helps. I’m excited to see what’s next.”
In the third set, Bruins was tied at 7, but led the rest of the way to close out the match.
Along with Wilson winning, first-year coach Chris Ceballos earned his first playoff victory as the Wilson head coach.
“COVID kind of messed up our offseason plan early on, so we haven’t had too much time to together,” Ceballos said. “We are building as we go.”