YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

VOLLEYBALL : Loyola Gets the Jump on Notre Dame


The Loyola High boys' volleyball match Thursday against Notre Dame started out as a mere tune-up for a showdown with Mission League leader Harvard-Westlake. That it was.

But it also turned into a jump-serving practice drill. Nearly every Cub used the high-flying, power jump serve as host Loyola buried the Knights, 15-5, 15-3, 15-7.

"We were just using these games to fine-tune our team," said Loyola senior middle blocker Pat Aparicio. "We served well and came out aggressively."

As a prelude, Cub setter Vaughn Montgomery opened the first game by jump serving for six consecutive points, including two aces. Later, the Cubs scored five consecutive points on Aparicio's jump serves.

The Knights' attempts at controlling Loyola's nose-diving serves flew harmlessly out of bounds or ricocheted off the ceiling. Notre Dame never was able to adequately pass the ball off on a Cub serve.

"Neither will Harvard-Westlake," Loyola senior middle blocker Cesar Morales predicted.

His teammates agreed.

"We're serving much better than we did last time," Davy Olson said.

The league-leading Wolverines defeated the Cubs in four games in their previous clash.

For Thursday's contest and Saturday's match with the Wolverines, the Cubs were without their best player, senior Kris Moller, who broke his hand Wednesday when he hit a wall in anger because of a personal problem.

Loyola Coach Derrick Lucero learned of Moller's status only moments before Thursday's match when the 6-foot-4 outside hitter appeared in the gym with a cast. Lucero was initially upset but later was philosophical: "This could be a blessing in disguise, because the goal is to have us peak at the right time. Maybe when Moller comes back, we'll be peaking right in time for the playoffs."

Lucero said Moller is expected to return next week.

Notre Dame's star player also sat out Thursday's contest. Six-foot-8 senior middle blocker Tom Stillwell, who has signed with UCLA, was out with a sprained ankle.

It was obvious from the start that the Knights didn't have much of a chance without Stillwell.

The Cubs were clearly experimenting, getting comfortable with the new lineup and Lucero substituted freely and gave his team members plenty of playing time. The one constant was the jump serving.

The Knights led, 2-0, in the second game before the Cubs scored nine unanswered points. In game three, Notre Dame was trailing by only a single point, but Loyola put the game away with four quick points.

Loyola improved to 7-2, 6-1 in league play; Notre Dame dropped to 3-6, 1-5.

Los Angeles Times Articles