Boys volleyball delivers a win in highly attended home opener

Leading up to the varsity boys volleyball team’s home opener against Loyola Academy on Wed. Mar. 30, the team commissioned a huge social media campaign with the goal of increasing spectator attendance. In one Instagram post, a speech bubble with the words, “I’m not going to boys volleyball’s home opener on Wednesday,” was overlaid onto a picture of three aghast team members, and in another post, multiple slides of individual players with the caption, “smile it’s home opener day,” were shared. In the end, this push to bring out more fans was successful in multiple ways. The Evanston side of Beardsley was considerably fuller than it usually is for a volleyball game, and Kits were also able to feed off of this energy. Loyola was defeated in three sets.

“I think our attitude, intensity, and overall mindset were keys to beating Loyola. We were all so extremely focused and locked in on the game that we just couldn’t see ourselves losing,” remarks senior co-captain Isaac Clay-Barbour of the victory.

In terms of highlights, senior co-captain Jesse Ijiwola logged three kills in the first set, and contributed defensively later on with a crucial block in the second. Fellow co-captain Clay-Barbour was also able to pull through with a similarly important block, and even logged the kill that won Evanston the second set. Other key plays were made by junior Johnson Adenkunle and sophomore Dillon Mallow-Williams, who each recorded an ace and a dig, and junior Aidan Klein, who catalogged a kill of his own in the third set.

The teams were about as evenly matched as two teams could be. Although Loyola came out on top after the first set, 25-23, Evanston was able to win the second set with the same score, and the final set in extra points, 27-25. Notably, despite the Loyola game being Evanston’s first of the season, it was the Ramblers’ eighth.

Unfortunately for Evanston, the Kits just weren’t able to keep the momentum going in the second game of the season against Glenbrook North on Mon. Apr. 4. After decisively losing the first set 25-18, the orange and blue were able to rebound somewhat in the second, but still, it wasn’t enough to keep the game going; the team lost it 25-22.

“With the GBN game, we made a ton of errors on our side that dug us into too deep of a hole to get out of. So I think moving forward a big part of our preparation will be centered around minimizing our mistakes,” says Clay-Barbour.

The key to making sure a repeat of GBN doesn’t happen again? Well, according to Ijiwola, it lies in what gave the Kits the edge over Loyola—stands packed with fans.

“Come support us if you can, it would be greatly appreciated.”