Men’s volleyball falls in state championship

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By Ryan Kelleher

Be proud/ After losing the state championship, the men’s varsity volleyball team and coaches smile big honoring their hard work during the season. Varsity went undefeated in league with a 12-0 record. Photo courtesy of Matthew Johnson

The men’s varsity volleyball team lost to the Palo Verde Panthers 15-25, 19-25 and 16-25 in the class 4A state championship match on Thursday, May 16.

“After the game, I was upset,” senior Justin Fan said. “I just thought about how much I’m going to miss volleyball because I’m not playing in college. We had a really good season though and still brought home two banners and two trophies.”

The Panthers’ powerful offense and large blockers overwhelmed the Cougs early on in the game. The Cougars played good defense but failed to take control of the game. Junior Alex Winiarczyk (#9) had 10 kills and nine digs against the Panthers. Freshman Jacob Ceci (#7) earned eight kills and two aces.

“This wasn’t the outcome we wanted, but we had a great season,” coach Matthew Johnson said. “We won some close games and grew as a team. The foundation the seniors laid will be carried on by the younger varsity players.”

Men’s volleyball won the Desert Region Championship on Friday, May 10. The Cougs triumphed over the Foothill Falcons 21-25, 25-16, 25-23, 22-25 and 15-11 in the championship game. Winiarczyk led the Cougars to victory with 19 kills while senior Randy Cowles (#10) and Ceci contributed with 17 kills each. Senior Alex White (#3) earned 51 assists and three blocks.

“Winning regionals was an amazing feeling,” sophomore Slater Fuhrman said. “I couldn’t stop smiling after we won. I’m proud of what we accomplished that night.”

Varsity finished 12-0 in league and 4-1 in the postseason. The last time the men’s volleyball program won regionals or made an appearance in the state championship was 2013.

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Assistant Editor Ryan Kelleher is a junior, and this is his third year writing for the “The Roar.” Ryan is also returning as the online editor for the website. He loves writing sports pieces, specifically volleyball and football. In his free time, Ryan hangs out with friends, and plays volleyball for school and his club team. Some of Ryan’s favorites include sleep, food, family, and friends.