OAHS boys volleyball is PASSING expectations and we’re DIGGING it

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OAHS boys volleyball is PASSING expectations and we’re DIGGING it

Boys volleyball team huddles together during a time out

Boys volleyball team huddles together during a time out

G.Lam

Boys volleyball team huddles together during a time out

G.Lam

G.Lam

Boys volleyball team huddles together during a time out

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Chaos surrounded boys volleyball at Orcutt Academy High School (OA) earlier this year when rumors suggested there wouldn’t be a team at all. After finding a coach and rallying a number of players, this year’s volleyball squad is setting the bar higher than anyone may have imagined.

Pulling together a team last minute was no easy feat for the Spartans. Substitute teacher Roary Hauter stepped into the coaching position when he realized the program was in need. With limited knowledge on the sport itself, Hauter uses practical leadership skills with the players and continues to learn the dynamics of the game.  

Due to a lack of expertise on the coaching end of the team, the players have been especially important this year. One valuable member is a junior and the team captain, Kyle Zafiris. In reflecting on the past, he admitted the team isn’t as competitive as it once was, but this years bunch seems to have more fun.

Zafiris said, “This year we’re just trying to lead the way for the younger players who are still learning the game. The goal is to make it fun so they want to keep coming back to play, but also doing our best on the court.”

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As captain, Zafiris takes on somewhat of a ‘big brother’ role for his teammates in teaching them the ropes. A 6’5” athletic frame sets him up for dominance at the net, with those on the opposing side often scrambling to adjust against his block and strength. Next to Zafiris on the court is a familiar face, his brother, Dylan Zafiris who acts as outside hitter and setter. Dylan is a deadly force with unmatched power in hitting; and as a freshman, he has unlimited potential in both positions. Needless to say, this dynamic duo is literally killing it at the net.

While their offense is strong, defensive passing has been a struggle for this bunch. Passing specialist (libero) Tanner Buzzard gets the job done in the back row with quick reflexes and a willingness to chase the ball. His role has been key in the progress of every match. Despite his efforts, this OA group struggles with consistency. Staying aggressive and talkative on the court is something they should continue to develop in the years to come.

It will be the last OA season for two starting seniors, hitter Kaden Bennett and rotational setter Eston Williams. These unique players will be missed by many, Bennett for his unconventional yet effective style of play, and Williams for his ability to energize the team and keep the ball up. Seeing how next years team adjusts to their absence will be somewhat of an adventure. 

With just one more game left, the OA team rests at a 6-11 overall win/lose ratio. As they have mostly first time players, this exceeds the expectations of many. What started out as thin air has now shaped into a positive learning experience, one in which this varsity team served up quite the season.

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