Less than two weeks ago, the Ocean View High boys’ volleyball team was close to being written off after finishing the first half of its Golden West League schedule with just one win.
The Seahawks had come off a home loss to Godinez on March 28, and senior setter Hunter Miller was among those who refused to believe that the season was over.
After its third consecutive win, Ocean View can say that it is right back in the thick of things as far as the league playoff picture is concerned.
Miller finished with 40 assists to go with nine service aces and three kills, and the Seahawks earned a 25-14, 24-26, 25-21, 25-18 win at Segerstrom on Tuesday night to get their league record back to .500.
Ocean View (11-5, 4-4 in league), which trails Segerstrom (13-9, 4-3) by half a match for third place in the league, will host Garden Grove (18-9, 6-1) on Thursday at 4:30 p.m., and the league finale will come at Godinez (14-6, 6-1) on April 22. The Argonauts and Grizzlies share first place.
“The teams that we just beat [Westminster and Segerstrom] beat us the first time, so we’ll see if we can do it two more times,” Seahawks coach Joshua Nehls said.
Miller talked about the impact of practice in relation to his team’s recent winning streak.
“Our biggest thing was at practice,” Miller said. “We finally buckled down, and we’re working our butts off. It’s definitely showing on the court in the league games now.
“Once we were down 1-4 [in league], we knew we were in a little bit of a deep hole, and we knew we had to dig ourselves out. We did it in practice.”
Ocean View senior outside hitter Jackson Petrovich had a match-high 19 kills, adding two aces and two total blocks. He did his best work in the first and third sets, providing 13 of his kills in sets that gave the Seahawks the lead.
Senior middle blocker Devon Vu had 10 kills with only one error, giving Miller an efficient option in the front row.
“It’s just trusting my teammates that they can get the pass where it needs to be,” Vu said. “My setter, Hunter, puts the set where it needs to be. Ultimately, our coach taught us to trust our players, trust our teammates, and that’s what I do.”
Senior outside hitter Kermel Anwell had six kills, including the match-ending tip. Sophomore outside hitter Christopher Haase also had six kills, and senior middle blocker Daniel Powell-Horan chipped in with two kills and two blocks.
An area of concern for the Seahawks all season has been the presence of “peaks and valleys” in their performance, as Nehls called them. It showed up again in Game 2, when the Seahawks could not finish out a set in which they held an 18-12 lead.
Reymundo Garcia pounded out eight of his team-high 13 kills for Segerstrom in Game 2. Vincent Nguyen closed out the set by winning a joust at the net, before evening the match with a set-clinching solo block.
Nehls said that his team has rallied with its back against the wall.
“They realized that we were playing scared,” Nehls said. “Now we have nothing to lose, so let’s just go for it.
“They’ve been showing up and focusing and keeping their foot on the gas pedal, except for a few slip-ups, and it’s been working out for us.”
Junior libero Aimar Herrera said that the Seahawks sometimes become overconfident, which leads to their unbalanced play. Nevertheless, he said that support of one another is a key to the team’s success.