Energized Edison boys’ volleyball beats Marina, heads into playoffs ‘extremely motivated’
Whether it was the players on the court or those on the bench Thursday evening, the Edison High School boys’ volleyball team demonstrated an unbridled enthusiasm on senior night.
The Chargers gave themselves reason to celebrate, sweeping Marina 25-19, 25-19, 25-23 in the Wave League finale.
Edison (14-11, 4-2), the No. 5-ranked team in the CIF Southern Section Division 3 poll, had 12 days to think about a five-set loss at league champion Los Alamitos before it returned to the court. With two wins this week, Edison gave itself a chance to be seeded with the section set to release its playoff pairings on Monday.
When the playoffs begin, the Chargers will be looking to make a deep run in postseason play, something that Marina accomplished last year when it won the CIF Division 4 title and the CIF State Southern California Regional Division III championship.
“Extremely motivated,” senior outside hitter Owen Shaff said of his team’s mentality heading into the playoffs. “Everyone on the team, all 16 guys, we all think that No. 5 is a little too low. We think we should be higher, and we believe that we’re higher, and we’re going in with a mindset that we’re going to win every single game.”
Shaff cited team trips to see some of the top collegiate teams in the region — including Long Beach State, UC Irvine and UCLA — as a way in which the Chargers have learned to be more cohesive as a team.
The impact of those team-bonding experiences was evident by the multitude of choreographed celebrations that came from the Chargers’ bench after winning points, helping Edison maintain momentum by keeping its energy up.
“Our energy has been great,” Edison coach Elias Perez said. “We’ve been talking a lot this year about emotional control and just emotional stability this year, not having our highs too high and our lows too low, but really being steady and focusing on being a good team and what being a good teammate means.
“I thought we did a good job with that tonight. We let our seniors go the whole night, and it was good to see the entire bench really be supportive and actually be good teammates and celebrate, and again, still be high-energy even when things weren’t going our way.”
Beau Johnson had a match-high 11 kills for Edison. Brandon Peacock and Shaff had nine kills each, and Micah Bassaline and Emerson Evans each added five kills.
“We got a great squad,” said Garin Takushi, who shared the setting duties with Johnny Braunstein. “It’s great to have all the options. We can run combo plays, just a lot of options, and spread out the defense on the other side.”
Marina (15-11, 1-5), which played the match without starting setter Dyllan Nguyen (illness), will be applying for an at-large selection into the playoffs. The Vikings were bumped up to Division 2 after the success of last season.
Joseph Nunez had 23 assists and two service aces filling in for Nguyen at setter. Lucas Heishman had eight kills to pace the Vikings. Derek McMullin added six kills and four digs, and Louis Zaffino chipped in with five kills and six digs.
Marina coach Ryan Parker said he feels confident his team will receive an at-large bid, pointing to the overall strength of the Sunset Conference and a four-set victory on March 8 against Tesoro, currently No. 13 in the Division 1 and 2 combined rankings.
“I’m pretty optimistic that we’re going to get in, and then once we get in, same thing as last year,” Parker said. “It’s a matter of winning one game at a time, and I don’t think there’s a lot of teams out there that we can’t beat once.”
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