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The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

The Student News Site of Sunny Hills High School

The Accolade

Boys volleyball ends season in second round CIF playoffs loss to Placentia’s El Dorado High School

Outside+hitter+junior+Matthew+Barta+strikes+the+ball+as+he+jumps+to+make+a+kill+during+the+first+round+of+CIF+in+a+home+game+on+Thursday%2C+April+25+against+the+Vista+Murrieta+Broncos.%0A
Asaph Li
Outside hitter junior Matthew Barta strikes the ball as he jumps to make a kill during the first round of CIF in a home game on Thursday, April 25 against the Vista Murrieta Broncos.

Despite winning in four sets in the Lancers’ first round of CIF playoffs last week, the boys volleyball team pushed its second-round opponent to five sets before losing this past weekend to Placentia’s El Dorado High School.

“It was more difficult and emotional because I saw our team fight really hard to win this game, but in the end, I am proud that they put their best effort out on the court, despite the outcome,” head coach Albert Soliguen said. 

The Lancers (23-8) ended their Saturday, April 27, match with a final set score of 2-3, and middle blocker junior Matthew Barta said the team’s energy was a cause for their loss. 

“We had a harder time maintaining our energy in the second round compared to the first,” Barta said. “Besides the team also being harder, we just didn’t have the consistent energy that I was hoping for. In the end, we still did all that we could, we just unfortunately fell short.” 

FIRST ROUND VICTORY

Last week’s opening CIF playoff match at home on Thursday, April 25, saw the Lancers defeat the Vista Murrieta Broncos (20-8) from Murrieta in four sets, 25-23, 27-25, 23-25, 25-19.

“It feels good for them to come out on top, especially for the first round because being in Division 3, we knew that it was going to be a tough playoff tournament,” Soliguen said. “The guys really showed that they wanted this.” 

Barta said the team’s energy contributed to the win, especially because the Lancers stopped the Broncos’ momentum after they had taken the third set.

“Even when we were down, and we lost a set, we still fought back,” Barta said.  

The Broncos started the match with an ace, but that did not stymie the Lancers.

“When they made the first point, I wasn’t really too worried because I knew that we had to move on to the next play and build the energy if we wanted to win,” Barta said. “That’s why I was really hyped up when I got the first kill of the match because I knew that the only way to win the game was to start strong and get in their heads.” 

Outside hitter senior Ryan Mesnik then started getting more involved in the offense, scoring four kills to put the Lancers in the lead at 22-20. 

“It felt good to contribute to the team’s offense and get the team back into the game,” Mesnik said. “My teammates were making great plays, and I felt extra motivated.” 

Despite needing only three more points to notch the first set, the Lancers found themselves behind by a point. Sunny Hills’ defense succeeded in shutting out the Broncos while taking the opening round highlighted by libero junior Payton Yang’s ace.

“I felt relieved since it would put us in a 1-0 advantage, and I felt excited going into the second set,” middle hitter junior Ryan Sunwoo said.

The Lancers and Broncos kept the second set tight as they found themselves all knotted up at 24 and again at 25 before Sunny Hills pulled ahead to take it. 

“I was a bit worried because I knew that when it’s game point, the whole team gets in their heads, and it becomes hard to finish the game,” Barta said. 

After scoring the final point for the second set and securing a 2-0 advantage, the head coach said he felt more sure of winning the game in a three-set sweep, but wanted the team to continue playing with an unchanged mindset. 

“Going into the third set, I felt confident in our position to win in the third set, but I also knew that the game was far from over,” Soliguen said. “It was important to keep the momentum going and to be consisten with our energy levels going into the third set. The team needed to adopt the mentality that the game is not over until we finish.”  

The Broncos then fought off a three-set sweep by hanging on and refusing to let the Lancers score any more points after they had reached 23.

“Going into the fourth set, I was worried because I know we tend to lose the next one,” Barta said. 

Nevertheless, the Lancers held their ground and they managed to end the match as the Lancers blocked the ball. 

“It was always just mindset and staying in a positive place,” Soliguen said. “The most important thing is just really managing those emotions and channeling it into a positive manner so that we can contribute to the effort and achieve our goal as a team.” 

With the season over, the boys volleyball team will now have to adjust to playing in a new league since the CIF-Southern Section voted earlier this year to break up the Freeway League as well as others throughout Orange County starting in the 2024-2025 school year.

“Next season, we look forward to dedicating our time in the off-season to improve our athleticism, work on our fundamental game through beach volleyball and build our game sense and knowledge on the court,” Soliguen said. “My goals for next season is to step into the new conference as League Champtions and to chase another CIF Championship.”

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Angelina Jeong
Angelina Jeong, Sports Editor
Junior Angelina Jeong enters her first year on The Accolade staff after learning the fundamentals of journalism in the Journalism 1 class last year. Alongside co-sports editor junior Christine Yoo, she looks forward to publishing more stories for the sports section that will continue the award-winning legacy of The Accolade. Her goal as an editor this year is to improve her writing and layout skills to entice more students into taking an interest in the publication. Outside of The Accolade, Jeong can be found volunteering for her club or going on walks with her dog. 
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