Boys’ volleyball plans to return with another stellar season

March 16, 2016 — by Roland Shen and Jay Kim

After winning the CCS Division II playoffs and the El Camino league last year, the Falcons have moved up to the upper De Anza League and hold a 3-2 record as of March 14.

The boys rushed onto the Independence High School court on May 19, piling on top of each other after realizing that they had won the title of 2015 CCS champions following a victory over Aptos High.

This historic success now means that rival schools are gearing up for the Falcons and playing their best against them.

After winning the CCS Division II playoffs and the El Camino league last year, the Falcons have moved up to the upper De Anza League and hold a 3-2 record as of March 14.

“In the beginning of the season we didn’t know what the lineup was going to be and who was going to fill in [for] last year’s outside hitter Michael Cole,” said junior outside hitter Joe Schneidmiller, the team’s star player who currently leads the Falcons in kills. “We practiced drills and routines every day that would help us for games.”

The Falcons prevailed 3-1 against Mountain View on March 11, losing the first set but coming back to win the following three. Schneidmiller had 25 kills, followed behind by senior outside hitter Spencer Yen with 15 kills. Senior opposite hitter Alex Li managed 10 kills, while senior libero Aakash Thumaty saved the team multiple times with four digs.

“It was a rough game, but we all came through at the end led by [Schneidmiller] and [senior co-captain and setter Chester Leung,] whose leadership is monumental and essential to our team’s success,” Thumaty said.

The difficulty of the De Anza League was apparent early in the season when  they lost against Leland on March 7 and Homestead on March 9, both by the score of 3-1.

We just need to build more confidence and accept that we will be hunted this season because we were CCS [champions],” Leung said. “During the first game against Oak Grove, we were pretty nervous and had trouble finding consistency, but we were still able to pull a win.”

    After suffering the two consecutive losses, the team was looking to learn from their weaknesses for future games.

“We let up too easily when we're down,” Leung said. “We need to be more resilient in order to compete in the upper league. In the future, we need more energy at the games.”

The team won its first two games of the season with a 3-0 victory against Oak Grove on March 4 and another 3-1 win over Valley Christian on March 5.    

    Despite losing key players such as Cole to graduation, the Falcons think they will be as strong as ever and hope to repeat last year’s success.

“We had some new [players] who didn’t know what position they would be playing,” Schneidmiller said. “But now, I think we have a solid team.”

    Due to printing deadlines, the games against Homestead on March 16 and Los Gatos on March 18 could not be covered.

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