By Jung Su Park
Expectations toward the boys’ varsity volleyball team’s performance throughout the upcoming season have never been so high. The Tigers have won every single Rio Hondo League game since 2011, attaining the league championship the past three seasons with a dominate 23-1 record. The team’s impressive list of accomplishments does not end there as it earned the CIF-SS Division III title to conclude the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 seasons, beating Camarillo High School and Gahr High School, respectively. These two championship victories allowed the Tigers up to CIF Division II.
“As we improved to Division II, we are assigned a more difficult task: to play against bigger, stronger, faster, and more skilled players,” senior Richard Yu said. “Division II is a whole new stage and we must work even harder than we ever did before especially on the defensive side.”
Looking to continue South Pasadena volleyball’s tradition of success will be a challenge as the Tigers will have to face better teams at the postseason. Moreover, the squad lost most of its senior leadership to graduation last year including Andrew Rudchenko, the starting setter and 2013-2014 Rio Hondo League MVP, left. Only one starting senior, the 2013-2014 CIF Player of the Year Yu, remains alongside five returning juniors including Greg and Max Luck, who were named Rio Hondo League first team last year, and Alex Nakagawa, who was named second team all league. Under the lead of these varsity returners, the Tiger squad hopes to maximize this year’s new addition of young talent and potential.
“The team is rejuvenated with new players joining and this means that we must take every team seriously and stay focused throughout the whole season, in order to build momentum and team chemistry,” junior Greg Luck said. “With constant leadership, the development of younger guys will soon follow and guys will start to step up and fill in the gaps.”
Upcoming events include an away game against San Marcos High School on Tuesday, March 10 and a home game against La Salle High School on Thursday, March 12.