Recap: Cathedral and Pacific Ridge

It was another exciting week for the boys’ volleyball team that started with a 3-0 sweep over the Dons of Cathedral Catholic. Adam Nussbaum was unfortunately absent as he had to go be impressive somewhere else. Thankfully he left the team in good hands. Andreas Cardenas-Marouf stepped up to set his first full varsity match, recording 29 assists, 6 digs, a kill, and a 100 in percentage at the service line. He also came second in blocks with 3, meaning he is now legally obligated to change his last name from Marouf to Maroof. Jackson DeWitt led in digs with 12, and performed a perfect strategic overpass that resulted in a kill and left him with a hitting average of 1000. 

Defensively, Mark Tankersley was next in line with 10 digs, and had another great serving match. Billy Harrington put down 2 kills and put up 4 blocks. Ben Sheres also had 2 kills and hosted a block party of 6. Bijan Sagart had 6 kills, 2 blocks, 9 digs, and an assist, giving our out of system offense a little side of butter. Nick Gustafson had another solid serving match and a great offensive game with 19 kills and a 394 hitting average. The boys’ maturity and camaraderie shone through as they navigated a contentious match. Both schools also showed their commitment to tradition, which the next paragraph will explain.

The score was 23-22 in favor of Parker. A win here would solidify the sweep, but there was something missing. Longtime fans of Parker boys’ volleyball may have noticed a certain recurring event in each home contest against the Dons. As the match neared its end, it seemed that the annual yellow card would not be issued. Thankfully, the next CCHS set went back, where Nick was waiting. The attack went straight into Nick's beautifully formed block, which he then appropriately celebrated on our side of the net. One ball slam later, the Lancers had match point and the Dons had kept the yellow card streak intact. Dramatic retellings aside, we are very proud of how our boys played composed and together the whole match. They showed their strength as a team and as a family. Calling back a Parker volleyball acronym of old, in this match they embodied every letter of B.E.A.S.T.S., particularly the B, which stands for brothers, and not beasts, Spencer. 

Our next match was against Pacific Ridge. The boys’ figured that after enduring nearly two hours of traffic to get up there that they might as well spend at least four games with the Firebirds. After a 25-21 loss, the boys got it together and won the next three 25-17, 25-12, and 25-16. Chris Nawrocki was one of two Lancers who was able to break the solid Pacific Ridge passing line. He had our best in percentage at 95.8, including 2 aces. He also picked up 2 digs. The other stellar server was Andreas, who had a 90.9 in percentage and 4 aces. He was solid in other aspects of his game as well. He logged 42 assists, picked up 8 digs, notched 4 blocks, and sent over 4 kills, 3 of which were officially recorded since they occurred when he was legally allowed to wage a front row attack. 

In the back row, Jackson again had 12 digs. Mark passed each of his 9 serve receive balls perfectly, resulting in a 3.0 passing average. Nick showed his defensive range, covering essentially all areas of the court when running down his 5 digs. At the net, he again had 19 kills and put up a 314 hitting average. Ben and Billy somehow again tied in kills with 3 each, Ben’s coming with a 429 hitting average. They had a combined 5 blocks. Ben’s first block of the match came late in Game 4, immediately followed by his second block of the match, which preceded, you guessed it, his third block of the match. This display may have well sparked a debate about whether “triple threat” can now be coined by the volleyball community. 

Finally, we would like to agree with the Pacific Ridge head coach’s assessment; “seven’s your guy,” because Bijan (who is number seven, which is being specified because even the boys forget their own numbers) had a great match. He lived up to his recent “top defensive player” designation, hustling down 6 digs like he hasn’t played middle for almost his entire career. His 16 kills came with a commendable 364 hitting average. We are proud of the boys for fighting through setbacks, handling scoreboard malfunctions, and for warming up with molten balls who had clearly evolved given that they were about to dissolve. 

Thank you to Coach Ratter for inaugurating and overseeing the Bench Squad. Thank you to the Bench Squad for hyping up the team, and showing Andy that he had a friend in us. Thank you to whomever gets that reference. Thank you to everyone who cheered us on at the Cathedral match and who made the drive up to support us on Friday. Thank you to the parents who helped us “sweep the floor” at Pacific Ridge since we left about twenty-seven things in the gym. And finally, thank you to the boys for denying Sam the opportunity to say “I made the chocolate-covered pretzels into brooms because you got the sweep.” However, she would like to add that she is still very happy for and proud of them regardless.

Our next match will be at home on Wednesday against University City, and will be a decisive one in the league title race. And this weekend, they will participate in the West Coast Challenge, starting on Friday at Christian High. That is Christian High in El Cajon, added for emphasis because last year someone went to the wrong school, Spencer. We hope to see you there! Go Parker! 

by Sam Deddeh