Long Beach Poly Volleyball Wilson

Volleyball: Wilson Asserts Moore League Supremacy in Long Beach Poly Win

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

The562’s coverage of Long Beach Poly is sponsored by Bryson Financial

The Wilson boys’ volleyball team asserted Moore League supremacy on the road at Long Beach Poly on Thursday afternoon, with a pre-Spring Break victory sure to have Bruins fans smiling for the next week. After dropping a classic to the Jackrabbits at home in the first round, Wilson took over sole possession of first place in the league with a 23-25, 25-23, 25-15, 27-25 victory.

Asked how much the Bruins had been looking forward to playing Poly again after the loss UCLA commit and USA Youth National Team member Marek Turner laughed. “We couldn’t wait,” he said. “We’ve been super excited for this match, every day since the last one.”

Wilson coach Chris Ceballos missed the two teams’ first match with illness, and was happy to be back on the bench for Wilson’s win on Thursday.

“I couldn’t wait,” he said. “I know what they have, and I know their coaching staff, they’re some of my best friends. So I couldn’t wait to get out and compete. They have a new look and a new confidence and swagger this year so I knew it was going to be a different type of match than the last few years.”

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Indeed it was once again a back-and-forth thriller just like the two teams’ first meeting. Poly jumped out to a lead in the first set and was able to hang on for a win, then the Bruins withstood a late Poly rally that saw the score tied at 22 in the second set, winning by the same score of 25-23. The third set was all Wilson before a thrilling fourth that saw Poly come back from down 19-16 to tie it, and eventually get a shot at set point up 24-23 which Wilson fought off on a kill by Will Morrison. Then it was Turner with a big kill, and eventually a Wilson win at 27-25 thanks to a Poly attack that fell wide of the line.

The Bruins were led by Turner and Ohio State commit Ian Nolte, as they put up 21 and 16 kills, respectively, in addition to ripping powerful jump serves that kept Poly’s offense uncomfortable. Meanwhile the Bruins did a much better job of handling Poly’s service pressure.

“That was the biggest difference to me was just handling their serves and passing a lot better,” said Turner. “We did a much better job of playing our way.”

The gym was loud the entire match through and Ceballos said he was excited to see the way his team responded to the environment.

“We have to get used to this because when we go on the road in the playoffs, that’s been our Achilles heel the past couple of years,” he said. “We’ve got a bunch of new guys on varsity so I’m hoping this experience gives them some confidence. But you saw the jitters first set.”

Morrison also had 17 kills for Wilson, and Nolte said he deserves a lot of credit for how the Bruins played.

“He’s great at clearing our minds, we talked as a team before the game and he made sure we were all taking deep breaths and on the same page,” said Nolte. “If we’re playing together it doesn’t matter what the crowd says.”

Poly was led by Lucky Iosua’s 12 kills, seven digs and three aces. The Jackrabbits were hampered by a mid-match injury to Ryder Tuoloa, but Poly coach Sid Davidson said he gave all credit to Wilson.

“They came in here ready to play, we knew they’d be ready to respond today and they showed up big time,” he said.

VIDEO: Long Beach Poly vs. Wilson, Boys’ Volleyball
PHOTOS: Wilson vs Long Beach Poly Volleyball
Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.