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Brethren Christian boys’ volleyball goes undefeated in Express League

Logan Egan, a senior middle blocker on the Brethren Christian High boys’ volleyball team, has a background in club volleyball.

He said he spent four or five seasons with the Balboa Bay Volleyball Club, but he never thought about leaving the Warriors program for a better opportunity.

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The Warriors finally got their break this year. Previously in the Academy League, which comprised private schools with larger student enrollments, Brethren Christian moved to the Express League.

At last, Brethren Christian is playing against those in its own league, and not just in name only.

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Egan had a match-high eight kills and two blocks to lead the visiting Warriors to a 25-11, 25-17, 25-20 sweep of Emerson Honors in their Express League finale on Tuesday afternoon at American Sports Centers in Anaheim.

Brethren Christian (14-12, 10-0 in league) capped an undefeated run through the Express League, winning its first league title since 2007 and earning its first CIF Southern Section playoff appearance in boys’ volleyball since 2011.

“It feels very triumphant,” Egan said. “We are very happy to bring the school to a level of competitiveness that we haven’t done in years. I’m very happy to be at this school and teach my experience to my teammates.”

Warriors coach Jannette Martes gave a ringing endorsement of Egan, praising the way that he has carried himself throughout his career with the program.

“He definitely has been a leader his four years as a player,” Martes said. “He’s a very quiet leader, but he definitely does [lead] by example. He definitely is the encourager on the team. He doesn’t worry about if he plays better than anybody else. He never lets anybody else feel like that. He always brings them up, trying to get them to his level.”

Martes added that she felt fortunate that Brethren Christian wound up in the Express League after years of having the Academy League playoff berths largely go to Sage Hill, St. Margaret’s and Crean Lutheran. She added that six of the 10 players on her roster had never played the sport before joining the team.

“We love athletics and we support athletics, but that isn’t why we draw kids to our school,” Martes said. “It’s the small community and the brotherhood, and I feel like, as a result, we get to enjoy playing sports. Now, we get to be competitive and do that. That’s been a huge difference for us.”

Junior setter Seth Klaasen handed out 16 assists, adding eight service aces and five kills. Koby Gilman had five kills, while Dakota Whitmire and Simon Zhang each had three kills.

Jace Knowles and Dillon McGowan added two kills for the Warriors. Levi Wicks also contributed as a passer out of the back row.

Emerson (6-7, 5-4) was paced by Hongan Dinh, who had five kills. Dylan Tran added four kills and an ace, and Jesse Sanchez chipped in with three kills and a block for the Dragons.

Klaasen has played a number of sports at Brethren Christian, including basketball, football and soccer. He said that the Warriors’ upcoming playoff berth will mark the first time that he has played in the CIF postseason.

“It sounds like a great time,” Klaasen said. “I haven’t been to playoffs in any sport that I’ve played, yet, at Brethren. It’s going to be a new experience for me, and I’m ready to go out there.

“I think we’re all ready to go out there and have some fun, mostly. I think we’re going to go out there and win.”

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