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Interns Volleyball Wilson

CIF Boys’ Volleyball: Wilson Falls to Orange Lutheran in Five-Set Thriller

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.

Wilson went into the playoffs ranked first in Division 2 after an undefeated Moore League season, but Long Beach’s top team fell just short to Orange Lutheran on Saturday in a five-set thriller, 25-19, 29-31, 21-25, 25-19, 16-14. 

The Bruins looked strong in the beginning of the first set, as junior Ian Nolte started off the Bruins scoring with a strategic tip, followed by a monster block from junior Alden Jacobs and sophomore Marek Turner. 

After the first two points, Wilson was behind for the rest of the first set. The Lancers had two key players in their win on Saturday, freshman Kayden Utu, and senior utility Preston Schmidt. After a Lancer run, Nolte used their block to score and close the gap. 

“It was the little things that set us behind,” Wilson coach Chris Ceballos said. “Our awareness and communication were things that we worked on all season but didn’t show today.”

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The second set was a much more competitive game for the Bruins. Though they were never behind, the game was either tied or up by one, making the second set a nailbiter. 

Nolte, who tallied 21 kills on Saturday, was strong at the net throughout the entire match, as an overpass block forced Orange Lutheran to call a timeout at 21-19. Junior libero James Mendoza had the serve for Wilson game point, as the Lancers ended the play by putting the ball into the net, tying the set score 1-1. 

The Lancers started the 3rd set with the ball, missing their serve to give Wilson a chance to take a big lead. The game play in the third set was most like how the Bruins played for a majority of the season. They kept a comfortable lead and were strong on defense, leaving minimal room for error. 

Wilson started the 4th set at a deficit, but there was a moment of hope for them to take the lead. After a misstep on attack, the Lancers main hitter went down with an ankle injury, and was taken off of the court, sitting out for the rest of the match. 

The Bruins were able to close the Lancer lead after being down 12-18, but it wasn't enough to win the fourth set.

“We scheduled big games to prepare for these matches, at the end of the day we weren't battle tested enough. Once we get into these situations we get emotional and don't play at our peak abilities,” Ceballos commented. 

After the coin toss, Wilson went into the fifth set receiving. Turner came out swinging after two textbook sets from setter Braden Pool-Harris, with back-to-back kills. Nolte continued this momentum for the Bruins with an ace, giving Wilson a one point lead, 11-10. The Lancers responded to that with a ball going wide, then calling a timeout at 12-10. 

Two back-to-back Bruin errors led to the loss in the fifth set. 

“We thought that the league and non-league games that we had this season would help us compete,” Ceballos commented “But we learned that we needed more challenging experiences to help us win tonight.”

In other local volleyball action, Millikan suffered a sweep loss to No. 2 seed Servite at the other end of the Division 2 bracket. In Division 5, St. Anthony lost at Rancho Verde in four sets, officially ending the boys’ volleyball season in Long Beach.

Morgan Lippert
Morgan Lippert is a Senior at Wilson, member of the Varsity Volleyball team, and manager of the Boys Varsity team. Her main interest is in sports journalism, and she is very excited for the opportunity.