Since the local high school boys’ volleyball community involves just
two teams, the area’s two private schools have become friendly
In less than two weeks, Providence and Bellarmine-Jefferson highs
will get their first look at one another in the 10th annual
“We are hoping it is going to be Providence against Bell-Jeff in
the semifinals of the tournament,” Pioneer Coach Andrew Bencze said.
“I think that would be nice for the community and for both programs.”
Although the tourney will serve as the beginning of the season for
the Guards, the Pioneers have two matches next week to kick off their
Here is a look at how the season is shaping up:
With a young team, Bencze realizes his Pioneers (17-7 last season)
aren’t going to get much CIF Southern Section Division IV recognition
early on. But as the season progresses, the coach said his team will
likely be a force in the division.
“The division has really changed this season and it has become a
real small-schools’ division,” said Bencze, whose team finished
second behind Calabasas Viewpoint in the Liberty League last season.
“If we progress like I think we will, I expect us to be among the top
five in the division.”
Heading the quest will be 6-foot-2 senior outside hitter Ian
Breckenridge-Jackson. Jackson -- who is also a standout basketball
player -- has great athletic and leaping ability.
Also playing outside hitter will be senior returner Francis
Sanchez (5-11), who along with junior setter Tony Boucher (5-10)
should give Providence some stability.
In the middle, a pair of freshmen -- Alex Knopper (6-2) and Ryan
Bartolome (5-11) will get a chance to shine.
“I have never had two freshmen starting on varsity,” Bencze said.
“But these two guys are great athletes and they will definitely help
Sophomore Martin Banda (5-10) should give the team some depth at
In the battle for a league championship, Bencze said he expects
Viewpoint and L.A. Windward -- both ranked teams -- to pose the
Former all-league standout and 1996 graduate Miguel Segura returns
to his alma mater to take over the coaching reigns.
Although Segura said he doesn’t have a lot of returning players,
the team has a nice mix of veteran and new talent.
“We are going to be inexperienced, with only three returning
starters,” said Segura, who inherits a team that won just four
matches last season. “We are still working things out, but we are
looking for the positives and I think we can double the number of
The cornerstone of the Guards is junior Brendon Doyle, a 6-foot-3,
225-pound force who is also a star in basketball and football, where
he earned All-CIF Southern Section honors.
Also returning is senior Luis Zatiana (5-8) -- in his fourth
season on varsity -- who will play in the back row, and senior Vahe
Issai (6-0), who will play middle blocker.
A freshman whom Segura will be counting on to contribute is Joseph
Oshila (5-8), as well as junior middle blocker Vaz Mekhsian (5-10).
With his lineup, Segura said the Guards should contend for a
“I expect L.A. Cathedral to be the top team in league,” he said.
“But I really think we can make the playoffs.”