Men’s volleyball stays strong after loosing season

Ashton O'Halloran

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Mesa Men’s volleyball team lost their final two matches of the year last week, conference champs Palomar, and local Grossmont College, sealed the men’s 0-12 conference fate. Finishing 2-16 overall the team is forced to look towards the future of next season, and try to figure out what went wrong this year.

Head coach John Landicho started this season as his second year coaching at Mesa. His definitive goal is to make the men’s team a winning program, but at the pace of this season, he has a lot of ground to cover.

The team consists of all freshmen except for sophomore setter Stephen Spieker.

“Stephen is a great leader of the team, he is very talented, and we will miss him a lot,” said Landicho.

With Stephens’s departure Landicho will look to freshman J.J. Snarponis and Cody Reeves to step up and bring something to the table next year.

“J.J. is a real offensive weapon and has not even reached his full potential,” he said.

Reeves and outside, hitter red-shirted in 2009 and started this year as a freshman.

“Cody is going to be really important to us on the left side,” said Landicho.

Besides the returning players Landicho has to bring in new players to contribute as well. Recruiting can prove a difficult task for the coaching staff. They have to look up and out of state to find new talent and fresh faces to play for Mesa.

“I have to find the bodies, go out and search for the talent, and then bring it in to play for us,” said Landicho.

Unlike south county San Diego, North and Orange county schools have more local talent to pull from. Volleyball is more popular and prevalent in cities like Hermosa and Manhattan Beach because of the American Volleyball Professionals more commonly known as the AVP. Boys grow up playing volleyball there, and then choose from the many local community colleges to attend over Mesa.

Now the current and prospective players at Mesa have a daunting task ahead, but a loosing record won’t stop the men from pursuing a successful season in 2011.

“The quality of the players in our program has really improved, the way they take care of their school work, their commitment, and respect for their bodies really makes a difference,” he said. “Even though the record doesn’t show it, the level of the kids and their personalities have grown, and that will only help us prepare for next year.”

The men will have a week off and then hit the gym and weight room in preparation for next year. Landicho plans on taking this off-season very seriously; letting the team know that next year they will improve their record whatever it takes.

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