The562’s coverage of Long Beach Volleyball in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Misty May-Treanor and the Dream in Gold Foundation.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
The562’s coverage of Millikan athletics in the 2022-23 school year is sponsored by Curtis Boyer
For the third straight year, the Wilson boys’ volleyball team are Long Beach royalty.
The Bruins Moore League schedule this year has felt a little like a victory parade, as the most talented team the city has seen in recent years has been on a steady undefeated march, dropping just one set in league play so far.
Tuesday evening at Millikan, the Bruins came home with a sweep to claim their third consecutive league title with a 25-16, 25-17, 25-13 win over the host Rams.
The Bruins (23-1, 10-0) are one of the best teams in Southern California, with talent all over the floor. Even though their sights have been set on a CIF-SS title since the season began, the Moore League throne was still meaningful to them.
“We appreciate the opportunity to come out here and compete and win a Moore League championship,” said Wilson coach Chris Ceballos. “It really does mean a lot for our school pride. The boys wanted to make sure that’s still a part of our goals for the season is to make sure that we take care of our home, and come out and make sure that everyone in Long Beach knows that Wilson volleyball is here.”
The Bruins announced their presence loudly from the beginning of each set, taking a 10-5 lead in the first set, a 15-3 lead in the second set, and a 15-9 lead in the third. Wilson hit .342 in the match as Braden Pool Harris took full advantage of the variety of weapons at his disposal.
Since USA youth national team member Marek Turner returned to the team from playing internationally, they’ve had an embarrassment of talent, with Turner, Ohio State commit Ian Nolte, and capable arms like Max Cherin and Alden Jacobs. Turner led on Tuesday with 15 kills and nine digs, while Nolte had 12 kills, and Cherin and Jacobs had four apiece.
Turner was happy with his team’s growth this year, as they’ve put aside a bad early-season habit of getting a lead and taking their foot off the gas pedal. On Tuesday they kept the pedal down until the match was over and the title secured.
“We’d dominate and then we’d let it get close,” said Turner. “We talked about it, we regrouped and figured out how to make that switch--just locking in and not letting up until it’s over.”
Turner said that after an excellent experience on the USA youth team playing against the best high school-aged talent in the world, it was fun to come back to Wilson, even if it did require an adjustment.
“I’m happy to be back but it was an adjustment for sure, the game’s a bit slower,” he said.
Millikan got a solid game out of sophomore standout Jackson Cryst, who posted 10 kills and three blocks, but the Bruin attack was too varied to overcome. The Rams now find themselves tied for second with Long Beach Poly, with just a week of action to go on the other side of Spring Break.
The Bruins find themselves tied for 11th in this week’s CIF-SS Division ½ rankings, right around on the split between the two divisions. Ceballos said that even though his team knows they’d have a pretty open path to another CIF-SS title in D2, they’re hoping to be in Division 1.
“With the talent we have, with the way they’ve worked, they want to be in Division 1, they’re used to playing against the top guys in club,” he said.