Boys volleyball wins PVAC championship


Ari Blumenthal

Co-Captain junior Todd Lazoff hits the ball during the PVAC championship.

Ari Blumenthal, Reporter

Despite being down 2-1 in a loud, rowdy and unfriendly environment, the boys varsity volleyball team managed to prevail, winning two sets in a row to defeat Spencerville Adventist Academy in the PVAC championship game on Tuesday, May 23.

Due to the team’s undefeated regular season, the championship game was initially arranged to be played at home. However, a scheduling conflict with “Arts Chai Lights” — a night in which students showcase various art projects throughout the school — moved the game to Spencerville.

Playing in front of a noisy and energetic Spencerville crowd contributed to the already existing mixed emotions of the team.

“I felt half and half. I was confident on one hand because we beat them twice, and I thought we were the better team, but on the other hand, it’s hard to beat a team three times,” junior Itai Topolosky said. “They’re a very good team, and we were coming in having to play on their court. Their fans [were] very loud and annoying.” 

While to many teams, this less-than-ideal situation would ruin players’ spirits and increase pressure, this was not the case for the Lions.

“We came in, we knew we had the disadvantage and we were angry about that. We were angry about the whole situation not being the home team,” junior and captain Todd Lazoff said. “So we just came in and played our hearts out.” 

Even with this mentality, the team was faced with other obstacles such as struggling to block spikes and communication errors. These errors caused the Lions to fall behind and lose the second and third sets. 

“We lost a little confidence. We got a little fumbled on the serves and the passing and things like that but we persevered,” Head Coach Scott Wertlieb said.

Perseverance was the key for the Lions, and the team’s dominant performance in the fourth set proved this. 

“Our attitude is what helped us come back. We stopped making the dumb mistakes we were making. We realized that they didn’t really have any kills the entire game. It was really just our mistakes,” Lazoff said. “So fixing that and just really wanting to win was really how we came back.” 

The team’s composure and positive attitude throughout all of the setbacks paid off, and the Lions won the tiebreaking set (which ends at 15, in contrast to a normal set that ends at 25) with a score of 15-12.

“There’s nothing better than going to someone else’s house and winning a banner. There’s nothing better than that. Because of Arts Chai Lights, we could not play at home… But it didn’t matter. We were ready,” Wertlieb said.