High School Male Athlete of the Week: Bryce Dvorak can do it all for CdM volleyball
In a premier high school boys’ volleyball program, the lifespan of one’s varsity career may not be as long as it might have been at other schools.
That can have the effect of making the time one does have representing their school at the highest level all that more precious.
Corona del Mar High has one of those elite boys’ volleyball programs, and as such, a roster stocked with college-committed players may not have a single four-year varsity player.
The Sea Kings went to four straight CIF Southern Section Division 1 finals beginning in 2015, winning back-to-back titles in 2017 and 2018.
Bryce Dvorak had to wait his turn at setter behind Patrick Paragas, who is now at UC Santa Barbara.
Now a senior, Dvorak has proven to be one of the most physically gifted setters in the sport. The Pepperdine commit is a lean 6 feet 3, and the ball comes off his left arm like lightning when he decides to turn and attack.
“It starts at the service line,” Sea Kings coach Sam Stafford said of Dvorak’s impact. “His serve is a weapon, for sure. I think he makes a good decision, puts our hitters in some really good spots setting-wise, and he is always a threat to turn and hit, be offensive at the net.
“In those three aspects, he impacts the game in a great way, and then blocking-wise, he is another huge asset for us. He impacts the game in four, maybe five ways, which is huge.”
A fiery competitor like his coach, Dvorak thoroughly enjoys the blocking aspect of the game. While blocking itself is physical, the celebration after such a play can sometimes resemble a mosh pit.
“I remember once, this was [against Los Angeles] Loyola my freshman year on [junior varsity],” Dvorak began, recalling one celebration that got rough. “What ended up happening is, so I got a block. It was on Nico Posivak, who is now at Princeton. He is playing libero for them.
“Shane Premer, what he does is he pushes me over as I’m sort of [in] midjump and celebrating, and he just knocks me back flat on the ground.”
The Dvorak-to-Premer connection has been growing for years, and the same applies to several other players for CdM.
Middle blockers Glen Linden and Austin Chandler and libero Jaden Glenn are among the Sea Kings who have played with Dvorak for multiple seasons as part of the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club.
At the Orange County Championships, CdM went through Surf League rivals Newport Harbor and Huntington Beach in the Gold Bracket playoffs. Dvorak had 24 assists, two kills and a block in leading his team past Canyon 25-16, 25-14 in the championship match.
The Sea Kings also passed a five-set test in their season opener at home against Loyola 21-25, 29-27, 21-25, 25-23, 15-8. In that match, Dvorak supplied 48 assists, four blocks and three service aces.
“I think we’re definitely capable of winning,” Dvorak said. “I think we’re very lucky to have good chemistry and a strong sense of friendship among everyone. I think that’s something very unique, and it’s not just the six or seven starters. It’s the entire roster of 18 guys that’s going to contribute to our success.”
Dvorak is primarily focused on winning in the month of May, specifically during the CIF Southern Section Division 1 and state playoffs. Last season, the Sea Kings were knocked out in the CIF quarterfinals by Santa Barbara.
In the 1980s, the Dvorak family was known to some as “Laguna Beach’s First Family of Volleyball.” Dusty Dvorak, Bryce’s uncle, was the starting setter on the U.S. Olympic team that won the gold medal in 1984.
His father, Rudy, also played for USC and made it onto the national team.
For Dvorak, for whom volleyball has always been a big part of his life, the journey may be far from over. Stafford says that he is putting in the work to prepare himself for goals beyond his prep career.
“Just watching Bryce work in the weight room, I think pound-for-pound, he has turned himself into our strongest player,” Stafford said. “I think Bryce takes it very, very seriously.
“I think he has aspirations for something that is bigger than high school volleyball, hopefully, and I think he is definitely more than capable of doing that and achieving those goals.”
Born: Aug. 5, 2001
Hometown: Laguna Beach
Height: 6 feet 3
Weight: 180 pounds
Coach: Sam Stafford
Favorite food: Häagen-Dazs green tea ice cream
Favorite movie: “The Green Mile”
Favorite athletic moment: Corona del Mar beat Newport Harbor at home during his junior year, handing the rival Sailors their only loss of the 2019 season. The Sea Kings earned a share of the Surf League title as a result.
Week in review: The Sea Kings went 5-1 in winning the Orange County Championships at Edison High. Dvorak produced 24 assists, two kills and a block, as CdM defeated Canyon 25-16, 25-14 in the championship match on Feb. 29.
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