With only two returning senior starters, Arbor View’s boys volleyball team might not have been a popular pick to advance to the finals of the Las Vegas Invitational tournament.
The Aggies, though, rattled off seven straight wins in the tournament before running into powerhouse Beckman (California) in the title match.
Beckman defended its tournament title, topping Arbor View 25-13, 25-12 in the championship match Saturday at Shadow Ridge.
But it did little to dash the spirits of the Aggies, who rallied to defeat Bishop Gorman in three sets in the quarterfinals and swept Green Valley 25-18, 25-22 in the semifinals.
“I’m absolutely pleased with how our kids played,” Arbor View head coach John Gibbons said. “We only have two returning seniors (Brenden Gougeon and Michael Prescia) who started last year, and a couple of other players coming back. All together, we played well as a group today. We got down a few times in certain games and matches, and they pulled it out. You have to be proud that the kids fought together as a team, and team is what we try to emphasize.”
Beckman’s Spencer Olivier, a junior who has committed to Long Beach State, had 12 kills and never let the Aggies get on track. Brayden Wiley added nine kills for the Patriots.
“For us as a team, there are certain kids we like to have step up and not worry about what is going on on the other side of the net,” Gibbons said. “We just have to worry about what we can do. We have kids who have a lot of experience, we just need to show it and not get down on ourselves.
“The biggest thing about playing a team like this is the experience we get, and this will help us when we play in Las Vegas. In tournaments, when we get out of town, these are the types of teams we like to play. They have a great team, with big hitters; good servers and they pass the ball well. We just need to know how to finish and finish strong.”
Treven Clizbe did his best to keep the Aggies in the game with nine kills, and Prescia had six digs.
Clizbe and Prescia were named to the all-tournament team. Clizbe had 27 kills in the final three matches Saturday. Prescia had 31 total digs in the three bracket matches.
Clizbe, along with Brenden Wagner, is making the transition from playing in the middle to playing outside. Wagner had seven kills in the win over Bishop Gorman.
“We are absolutely proud of Treven and Michael (for making the all-tournament team), and the dedication they put in the offseason playing club and playing together. That is important for us in our development at Arbor View.
“(Treven and Brenden) are transitioning really well, and we have high hopes for them.”