Despite big plays, boys volleyball falls
It was a tough barrier but it was not insurmountable. Whenever Canyon High made a slight error, the Claremont boys volleyball team responded by breaking through their defense.
A slight pause from the Comanches would prompt senior setter Eran Bechor to spike the ball; a misstep allowed sophomore opposite Bronson Sloboudnik to strike the ball back into Canyon territory. All the action was followed by fist pumps. But that was the good news.
The Comanches’ defensive barrier withheld as the Wolfpack ended up losing, 3-1. They simply were unable to make a comeback after the third set.
“We are still a young team,” head Coach Bernie Wendling said. “We’ve got to get connected a little better. Fifteen seniors graduated last year, and we have two who know how to play varsity.”
The Wolfpack took control of the second game, keeping hopes of a match win alive. After Bechor was blocked by the Comanches’ defense, Sloboudnik slapped the ball back on the floor after Canyon High served.
Whether it was 5-5 or 18-18, each tie was a pivotal moment for junior middle block Donovan Robinson to exert a fierce attack and get Claremont above on the scoreboard. No talk; all action.
“When games get close like that, you have to let them know this is our home,” Robinson said.
One strategic move after another gave the Wolfpack enough motivation to turn the game into their favor. As Bechor shouted calls and opponents’ numbers, each teammate knew where they needed to be at any given moment.
It was not only that they managed to remain organized, but they used the opponents to get the score. When Canyon High crawled back up to tie the game, 13-13, Bechor struck the ball at an opponent’s torso and it bounced off a couple players. Although the collision was unintentional, the crowd cheered as if the Wolfpack won a pinball match.
“We try to make jokes and stuff like that to make the game better,” Bechor said. “Volleyball is all momentum.”
The Wolfpack also managed to pull some amazing blocks during the match. With two Claremont defenders on each end of the net, Robinson would fill the void in the middle.
Such stunts dismantled Canyon High and the Wolfpack won the second game, 25-20. Slouboudnik said they were able to get their minds focused to obtain the win.
He also played a major role in almost all tiebreakers along with Robinson. Both were able to synchronize and be in front of the ball’s path when a Comanche was about to strike.
Despite the overall loss, the Wolfpack managed to send the message that they were not going down easy. Sometimes when Bechor sprinted toward the ball, he would give a faint touch and have the Comanches dive over nothing.
“We tried our best,” Bechor said.
While the Wolfpack prepare for their next home game against Burbank High on March 18, Coach Wendling is not too concerned about the team and the obstacles they may face this season.
“We got some potential, it is just learning how to manage it,” Wendling said. “That is the fun of it.”
Pack golf makes strong showing at invitational
The boys golf team had much to celebrate as the Pack finished second and sixth against 18 teams Monday in the Serrano Diamondback Invitational at Spring Valley Lake Country Club in Victorville.
The Wolfpack entered two four-man teams. “A” finished second with a score of 331, behind Mater Dei High, and team “B” finished sixth with 366 points.
Individually, golfer Caleb Chodosh finished second out of 56 players with a score of 74. Team “A” was represented by Chodosh, Jonathon Yoo, Ben Whitham and Avery Hernandez. Team “B” was represented by Tyler Yang, Paul Yo, Andrew Im and Kyle Cohen.
The Pack will compete against Wilson High at 3 p.m. on March 18 at La Royal Vista Golf Club in Walnut.