Wednesday, 27 September 2023

International Volleyball

Loyola of L.A., Luca Curci top 2023 Boys HS All-American teams

Loyola of L.A., Luca Curci top 2023 Boys HS All-American teams

Loyola is the VBM national team of the year/photo courtesy of Michael Boehl, Loyola High School of Los Angeles

The Loyola High School of Los Angeles boys volleyball team stepped it up when it counted the most, avenging an earlier playoff loss to win the California Interscholastic Federation State Southern California Regional Division I championship, and in doing so is the 2023 boys national high school team of the year.

Loyola joins Newport Harbor’s Luca Curci (2023 boys high school player of the year) and Glenbard West’s Christine Giunta-Mayer (2023 boys coach of the year) as winners of the trifecta of national postseason awards that have been issued now for more than four decades.

The Loyola case study is a great one. The Cubs, under the direction of veteran coach Michael Boehle, rolled into the CIF Division I Southern Section playoffs with only one loss on the season, a 2-1 setback to Servite out of Anaheim in a tournament in March. The top-seeded Cubs downed Beckman and Edison before losing at home to Corona del Mar (Newport Beach) in four in the semifinal.

But there was still hope in the form of the regional playoffs, akin to the state championship in California.

And the Cubs (29-2 overall) did not disappoint. Loyola ripped through Scripps Ranch out of San Diego in the opener, avenged the section loss to CdM in the semifinals and then defeated Newport Harbor (Newport Beach) to win the regional crown.

“Our team was very upset with how we finished against CdM in the section loss, so we were very motivated to win the state playoffs and show everyone how much better we could play,” Loyola junior outside hitter Sean Kelly said. “We played very freely and came together even stronger in the state playoffs. It was a great way to finish our season and have something to show for our great year.”

Cubs senior middle blocker Spencer Graves (UCLA-bound) added: “Our team was able to succeed in the state tournament because despite a tough loss, we all came together and decided that wasn’t the way we wanted to go out. We knew we had the ability to beat CdM and Newport, we just needed to play our game and that’s what we did in the state tournament.”

Boehle, whose team had won 21 matches in a row before the loss to CdM in the section, said the team’s success this season boiled down to great chemistry.

“These were guys who really enjoyed each other on and off the…

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