This week, all of The562’s coverage is sponsored by Long Beach Gives. Visit LongBeachGives.org to find your cause and support local nonprofits! Donations will be accepted through Sept. 21.
The562’s coverage of high school volleyball in 2023 is brought to you by the MLP’s Bay Area Breakers
The562’s coverage of Lakewood Athletics is sponsored by J.P. Crawford, Class of 2013.
The562’s coverage of Long Beach Wilson Athletics is sponsored by Joel Bitonio, Class of 2009.
It’s apropos for Wilson’s Chloe Pravednikov to shine on Senior Night.
Pravednikov has captained the Bruins through some rough waters and now as a senior leader who relishes the big games. On Tuesday night against visiting Lakewood, Pravednikov delivered a complete performance to carry Wilson to a 25-18, 24-26, 25-22, 25-15 victory.
“She’s been the foundation for this program for the last four years, and it just shows why she’s going to Pepperdine,” Wilson coach Chris Ceballos said of Pravednikov. “She’s so solid, even in the heat of the moment she never loses her cool. She’s never pointing the finger. She’s awesome.”
Pravednikov finished with a match-high 22 kills to go with 13 digs, five aces and a pair of blocks.
“Coming off the (loss at first-place Poly last week)we wanted this game to go really well and show that we’re not done and we still really want to win league,” Pravednikov said. “We just wanted to play our game, and think about how this one is for the seniors and not just play for ourselves.”
Wilson senior Babi Gubbins came alive with 15 kills and 14 digs while senior libero Kate Eckenrode finished with 19 digs and three aces.
“This provided a big game experience for our new lineup as we’re trying to implement Gubbins,” Ceballos said. “I think we found a little bit of consistency in that third and fourth set.”
Pravednikov started her big night with a kill for the first point, and then when Lakewood led 11-10, she served an 11-0 Wilson run that included a trio of aces. The Bruins held off a late Lancers charge to hold on to the first set 25-18.
Lakewood responded well in the second set and took a 15-9 lead behind great play from Lucky Fasavalu and Jade Epps. Fasavalu had 12 kills, 15 assists and eight digs while Epps finished with 11 kills. The Lancers also fought off a late Bruins charge and kills from Zaria Thornton and Epps clinched the second set for Lakewood 26-24. Thornton finished with 10 kills.
The third set was very close early and there was a stoppage in play for the referees to discuss a call. Both teams huddled on the floor, and the Bruins turned to Pravednikov for advice. However, she and freshman Simrim Adams started talking simultaneously. Instead of pulling seniority, Pravednikov deferred to Adams and she said her piece. Two points later after a Pravednikov dig, Adams put down one of her eight kills.
“I feel like everybody respects each other and getting that respect makes it more of a good environment,” Adams said. “Everyone will listen to each other when they have something good to say. It’s fun to be on a team like that.”
Wilson went on to win the third set 25-22 that ended on another Adams kill and Pravednikov ace.
“It’s not just me who leads, I’m not the only person on this team. We all need to work together and we all have a say,” Pravednikov said.
Wilson dominated the fifth set 25-15 while riding the momentum provided by a huge home crowd.
“Knowing all of these people are here for us and are on our side just makes us work so much harder,” Pravednikov said. “We want to win for the school.”
Lakewood head coach Mike Wadley, who is a Wilson High alum, is in his last season at the helm and was honored by the Bruins before the Senior Night festivities.
“Wilson played great and it’s really amazing how good the league has improved in one year,” Wadley said. “(Wilson) did some really night things tonight to honor me. I was touched and it was a classy move.”
Up next for both teams, Wilson (12-3, 5-1) will be in a tournament this weekend and Lakewood (4-11, 2-3) hosts Compton on Thursday.