The Guardian

Despite inexperience, newcomers stepping up for boys volleyball

Julian Koonce, Staff Reporter

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Just around the midpoint in the season, the boys volleyball team has been aiming to finish the season on a high note.

According to player Mark Wickstrom, who’s been on the Varsity squad since his freshman year, a need to play in sync as a team has been the theme of the season. With a new cast of characters after losing over half of the team’s 2018 roster to graduation, eight newcomers on the team have given the team some energy despite their lack of varsity experience.

“I feel as though we just haven’t clicked enough, and that once we do [this season], we’ll be more than solid,” Wickstrom said with confidence.

A couple Grens have played a critical role in helping get the team to that point eventually this season. One of them is junior Sean Martinez.

Martinez is no stranger to teamwork, as a proud member of EG Nation. His presence on the team has been felt by Wickstrom.

“He has the energy, the skill, and he’s got the heart,” Wickstrom said of Martinez. “Although he hasn’t been playing for that long, I feel like he’s the best all-around player on the court.”

Martinez is an energetic, humble middle blocker who started playing volleyball during his freshman year of high school. While relatively new to the team, the players around him have agreed he has become one of the Grens’ most consistent by being a fast learner.

Plus, the emotion and energy he brings has earned the credit of his teammates.

“To me, it’s not just a couple players but it’s all of us working together,” Martinez said. “We all have that common goal, and the road to get there is through confidence and to stay focused. Once that’s done, the results will start to come our way.”

Martinez said he believes that the aforementioned Wicktrom is the most talented, skilled and volleyball-intelligent player. When you combine that with a 6-foot-8-inch frame and a high vertical, that can be a problem for opponents.

There are 6 games left in the season and the common theme between players seems to be the need for stronger connection between teammates and steps have been made towards that.

“We’ve brought a great culture back,” Wickstrom said.

“Although our record could be better, we are still a funteam that has fun off the court together. I just feel as if we need to translate that on to the court while balancing out the fun and competitiveness.”

Before publishing time, the team sat at 8-2 with the  Libertyville Invite right around the corner.

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Despite inexperience, newcomers stepping up for boys volleyball