The boy’s volleyball team is looking to continue their winning tradition this season. Under second-year coach Tony Malinauskas, the team will need new players to step up and replace last year’s seniors if the team wants to continue to be successful. The team lost their season opener to Clarksburg in heartbreaking fashion.
Although last year’s season can’t be considered a disappointment as the team made it to the MCPS semifinals, last year was the first year since 2008 where the team didn’t win the division. That ended a seven-year streak of division titles and this year’s team is hoping to start a new streak behind a group of talented new players along with a few returners. “We are a developing team with a lot of new guys and a relatively new coach so this season is probably the beginning of a new era of Wootton volleyball, whether it is as good as previous years or not is up to the next few years of players,” senior Omar Nunez said.
For this new era to be as good as previous years would definitely be considered a success given the history of the team. Back-to-back MCPS championships in 2013 and 2014 is where this year’s team and future teams will want to get back to. They haven’t been back to the finals since 2014 and that is something that the team hopes to change. Along with replacing last year’s seniors, the team will need to replace senior Victor De Avila who is playing collegiate level volleyball at Alvernia. He is playing on a club team during the year and can’t play with the team.
On March 21, the team took on the Clarksburg Coyotes in their season opener. After starting out flat and trailing 2-0 in sets, the Patriots stormed back and won the next two sets behind strong play from sophomore Kevin Jordan, junior Brendan Lam and Nunez. The team battled it out in the fifth set, but fell in a great match. “At the beginning of the game we were just trying to figure what works and what lineup to put in by the third set the pressure was on and we had been playing together for years even though the team is made up of mostly new guys,” Nunez said.
The team plays Paint Branch on March 23 at 7:15 p.m., but was too late to cover in this issue.