The boys volleyball team continues their five game win-streak against Cerritos Dons on Thursday, March 9


Summer Sueki

Middle blocker senior Ryan Axe gets ready to spike the ball against the Cerritos Dons in a preseason match Thursday, March 9, in the Sunny Hills gym. The Lancers defeated the Dons in four sets, 3-1.

The boys volleyball team continued its dominance during preseason with a three sets to one victory over Cerritos High School in a Thursday, March 9, home match, building on its five-game winning streak.

“Acknowledging our mistakes early on helped us create momentum from scratch, whether that was getting a good pass or finishing strong offensively,” boys volleyball head coach Albert Soliguen said after the 19-25, 25-20, 25-18 and 26-24 win. “It was just about taking that momentum and taking it on to the next set.”

That momentum manifested itself early in the first set as the Lancers (12-3), who this season has moved up two divisions from five to three, built an early three-point lead of 4-1. However, Sunny Hills found itself trailing behind the Dons (5-2) with a six-point deficit, 7-13, because of missed serves and defensive errors. That eventually cost the Lancers the first set. 

However, before the start of the second set, Soliguen settled his team down, reminding his players of the game plan and strategy in hopes of getting them to compete in a more consistent manner.

“We were down a couple of points, but I just didn’t focus on the number on the board,” the head coach said. “It was just about focusing on tying the score to get more of a chance to play longer and finish the [first set].”

Soliguen’s game plan worked as the Lancers played more accurately to trade points back and forth to tie the score at 15-15, despite being initially down 7-13 earlier in the set. 

Though the Lancers fell behind 8-13, Sunny Hills finally built momentum again late in the second set after opposite hitter senior Owen Taylor served an ace, making the score 19-18.

Then, outside hitter junior Ryan Mesnik closed out the set with a five-point margin after recording a kill on an unreturned spike from the left side. 

“We came into play really well with our setting and serves that were more aggressive,” Mesnik said. 

After a 1-1 tie at the opening of the third set, the Lancers continued to put the pressure on the Dons as they established a seven-point cushion with a 17-10 score. Later, outside hitter sophomore Augustine Cho pulled off an impressive move by digging the opposing team’s spike using his chest, setting up an opportunity for Mesnik to execute a spike and secure another point, bringing the score to 18-12. 

Despite the rowdy comments from Cerritos’ crowd, the SH team managed to close the set out with accurate blocking against the Cerritos’ attacking side.

“The [taunting] happens all the time, but you can’t help but just laugh it off and keep playing,” Cho said.

In the final fourth set, both teams traded points and were tied at 19-19. However, Sunny Hills ultimately secured the win by playing around the Dons’ weak offense.  

After the Lancers’ last non-league match against the Dons, the boys volleyball team will face its first Freeway League action in a home match Tuesday, March 14, at 5 p.m. in the gym against Fullerton High School (8-1).