by Amanda Long

The combination of newfound talent, awareness and determination has given the varsity boys volleyball team both a successful season so far and hope for further accomplishment.
The team has an overall score of 14-5, and is ranked as the number one team in Division 5 of Prep League.
“This is the first year we’ve ever had the number one ranking at any point,” said varsity  coach Michael Cass.
Junior James Lenihan said, “We’ve had some rough matches, but we’ve also had some pretty close ones too.”
Although all team members are skilled individually, unity among the team members is slightly lacking.  The volleyball players have not yet formed the strong bonds that make a team.
Cass said, “I think this is one of the more talented teams, but I don’t think they’re playing as cohesively as other teams yet.”
Co-captain and senior Ryan Hood agreed: “The chemistry just needs to be there. The team worked together great last year and we’re still struggling to get it this year.”
The team has struggled with the loss of core team members. “We had [alumni] John Scott ‘10, Faheem Qazi ‘10 and Steve Sinclair ‘10, who all were huge emotional parts of our team,” said Hood.
The three provided the team with amusement, calmness and focus, as well as leadership.
Leaders have yet to rise on the team, which is negatively impacting their connection. Hood said, “We need to combine as one big team: bench players and players who are on the court.”
The team’s lack of harmony has manifested itself through more noticeable attitudes. Sophomore Jordan Lucier said, “A weakness would probably just be staying positive and not dwelling on the mistakes we make.”
Additionally, the team feels that they lack in energy on the court sometimes. freshman Tyler Colon said, “One of the weaknesses is that we don’t always have enough energy.”
“Everybody’s good at volleyball: there is no doubt in my mind, but we just need to be a lot more positive and need to focus all of our skill into a single team rather than as individuals,” said Hood. “You realize that the teams that aren’t that great are the ones who are not as emotional and who aren’t as enthusiastic.”
The team believes that the minute moments can make or break a game or season.  Cass said, “It’s really about being able to focus on all of the minor things as well that make the difference when you’re playing a top team.”
Similarly, Hood believes that focus is a fundamental detail: “If everybody focuses on the team then it’ll help the leadership and it’ll help the chemistry as well,” said Hood.
Enthusiasm is one of the most crucial parts in establishing a strong sense of team unity, but their enthusiasm should not be solely based on the team scoring a point agianst their opponents.
Cass said, “I always like a team to respond to winning or losing a point the same way.”
The team also has new players senior Larry Feygin and Colon to bolster the team’s lineup.
Addressing an issue is the first step to solving it, and the team is determined to solve their problems as they continue to have great expectations. The team  is already projected to strongly compete in the CIF final round.
“These guys have kind of a very high bar to meet, but with that being said, I mean they have a very legitimate shot at winning CIF,” said Cass.
The team aspires to even greater heights than CIF finals this year. The team hopes to compete on a higher level after CIF. Hood said, “We want to compete at state again this year.”