By: Asher Landau
After an extended hiatus and an uncertain future, the boys’ volleyball team has returned as it prepares for the arduous season ahead—well, not quite.
Although the school has a “boys’ volleyball class,” there is no official “boys’ volleyball team.” And while it holds regular practices, it is unable to compete in league meets or go to CIF. The class is more like a boys’ volleyball club, since the league does not classify it as a “CIF sanctioned team,” because it did not meet the registration deadline.
Many factors went into the dissolution of the team, but it is agreed that problems began during last May’s boys’ volleyball season.
Debra Cohen, former boys’ volleyball coach, sustained a neck injury which prevented her from attending every practice and devoting her full energy to the team. In her absence, two young volunteer coaches assisted the team, but without consistent guidance it could not perform to its full potential.
Athletic Director Jack Van Patten described the members as “uncompetitive and lacking commitment” due to many players not showing up for practices.
When the September deadline for registering teams for the 2010-11 CIF season came nearer, the decision to keep the boys’ volleyball team was tentative.
Cohen decided to discontinue her coaching position, so the administration asked girls’ volleyball coach, Charles Min, to take over.
Min was willing to help out considering “only the students would suffer with no coach,” but as the deadline approached, the team did not have enough boys to fill the necessary six positions, resulting in the administration canceling the boys’ volleyball team.
However, some members who were angry with the decision began a petition to get the administration to re-form the volleyball team as a second semester class. Juniors John Traquena, CJ Calica, and Clarence Evangelista fervently recruited new students to attain the minimum number of members.
“I love to play volleyball,” Traquena said. “I see that my friends love to play, too, so I just wanted to make sure we could prepare for next year’s season and have fun.”
Their efforts did not go unnoticed. Assistant Principal Caroline Sweeney and Van Patten took their petition as a sign of commitment and worked with the boys to get back the class.
“It excites me to see students want to play and are taking the initiative to form a team,” Sweeney said.
The administration accepted the petition’s proposal and gave the boys a second semester class combined with girls’ volleyball under the supervision of Min.
The team will still not be able to play against other schools in the league and must settle for only private tournament games; the players accept this, but not without some reservations.
“I dislike the fact that we are unable to use our hard work to bring pride to our school by winning,” Evangelista said.
Some of the girls’ volleyball team members, who know the difference between league competitions and tournaments, find the situation a little unsettling, too.
“I think it is sad that they can only play in tournaments because nobody can watch and support them,” JV volleyball veteran Anna Rubino (’12) said.
It may be best that it will not be competing against other schools in our league considering how difficult it is to have a team that has only been practicing for a few weeks compete against teams that have been practicing all year.
Min is currently working on scrimmage against Glendale High’s boys’ volleyball team.
“Even if we cannot compete in league, our boys should still have a chance to use their love of the game for something important,” said Min. “Otherwise, it would be a terrible waste.”