Review: Volleyball returns to the court

Review: Volleyball returns to the court

Despite a struggling season, the men’s volleyball team progressed from the start with their skill and communication. 

While bidding their coach farewell after his reduced responsibilities, the team remains hopeful and looks forward to improving their individual skills while having a successful recruitment process in the off-season. 

The Brahmas were defeated by Antelope Valley College in straight sets in their last game on April 8.

Following their last match, the men’s volleyball team concluded their first season since the pandemic started.

Coach Edison Zhou said they were able to play this year despite going through many obstacles.

“One month before the season we didn’t have enough guys to play the season, so we tried to cancel the season,”  Zhou said. “But some of the guys showed up late and helped the program and season, and I really appreciate them for allowing us to play this year.”

Despite the team making the cut for the amount of players required to participate this season, it was a struggle to gather and keep players because of fear of COVID-19.

“This is the first year of the pandemic opening back school and sports,” Zhou said. “Some of the parents were worried about COVID-19, and thus it was a challenge for even recruiting players.”

Zhou attempted to revitalize the program with new players and while the team lost all of their games this season, they continued to make progress as the season went on.

“From the first day of the season to the last day, they all progressed a lot in their skills and especially in jump topspin serves and passing,” Zhou said. “They all worked and fought as a team, and I really appreciate the guys and everything they’ve done for the team, program, and themselves.

Despite struggling throughout the season as a team, many players were happy that sports had returned to Pierce College.

“Ongoing with the Covid-19 pandemic, it was hard at first but you get used to it and get tested every week, and so on,” outside hitter Julian Soto said. “I’m just glad we had a team, because I know some people didn’t have seasons last year and couldn’t play due to limitations around the pandemic and so on.”

Players continued to play hard regardless of the limitations provided by having a relatively small roster.

“This season was kind of hard on us because we didn’t have all of the players we needed, since most of our team was short and we had to adjust to that and play smarter,” Soto said. “Overall, I think we did pretty well with the team we had, and I think going off into next year we’ll do amazing.”

Soto and outside hitter Jhair Jimenez played well and were second and third on the team’s average point per set this season.

“All of us improved, whether from being libero, outside hitter, or our setter,” Soto said. “I’m a quick learner usually, so improve pretty quickly and especially with our teammates sometimes we get in each other’s heads a lot, so we’ve done a lot better in calming down.”

 Soto added, “There wasn’t really a specific turning point, it just starts getting better progressively, In the first game we didn’t do much with each other, but going on through the next games we started getting closer and learning each other as teammates and friends, and overall most of us really changed our individual games to better our teammates and for each other.”

Jimenez shared the belief that the team progressed as the season went on, and that despite losing, the team collectively bonded over the year.

“I thought we naturally progressed as a team as the season went on,” Jimenez said. “Playing and working out with each other every day led to us knowing each other more and playing better together.”

Despite losing every game this season, the men’s volleyball team remains optimistic that next season will bring better success due to more new and returning players than this year’s team.

“I look forward to getting better every day and recruiting new players and continuing to know each other more in the off-season,” Jimenez said.

While Coach Zhou won’t coach the men’s volleyball team next season, he still holds a leadership position as coach of the women’s volleyball team. The future of the men’s volleyball program remains hopeful and look forward to the off-season filled with potential new players and improvements for returning players.

“I know some players that are coming in next year so I’m really happy about that and it will be pretty fun to play with former friends,” Soto said. “Individually, I’m excited to improve more and I want to be one of the top players, so that’s what I’m going to strive for.”