Boys volleyball closes season confident in team’s direction

On March 30, varsity boys volleyball had its first game of the season at home against Loyola Academy, and the energy was electric. Fans filed into the stands of Beardsley Gym to watch the gripping match in which ETHS took the win in the third set. Varsity coach Stanley Antoine described defeating Loyola as one of the season’s highlights.

Although the season started on a high, the team struggled to make strides as it entered its conference matches—finishing with a record of 15-20 overall and 0-10 in conference. Although their record doesn’t reflect what the Wildkits had hoped for in the beginning of the season, coaches and players alike agree that their season flourished in other ways.

“Personally, I had a very fun time [this season]. I think our record wasn’t as good as we wanted it to be, but [we] built strong bonds between a lot of the players on the team,” expresses class of ‘22 varsity player Isaac Clay-Barbour. “I think we had fun, regardless of our record, so it was still a successful season in my eyes.”

In addition to establishing camaraderie, the team also scored a first place victory after beating Loyola Academy for the second time that season in their Mike Hulett Spring Fling tournament hosted at home on Friday May 13 and Saturday May 14. 

ETHS met Loyola one final time for their second playoff game on Tuesday May 24. After a close match, Evanston lost in the third set 23-25, consequently ending their season at the same stage in the playoffs as the previous year’s varsity team.

“I had confidence that we could win,” Clay-Barbour says, referring to the Loyola playoff game. “Things just didn’t go our way. It was a great game, [and] it was a hard loss. If I wanted something to go different [about last season], I think I would have wanted that game to go different.”

Moving into next season, Antoine has confidence that the program will achieve their goals through hard work and devotion. 

“[Next season will be] different in the sense of we will be more competitive. We definitely liked the growth that we made as a program last year and the effort that the guys are showing in the offseason,” Antoine shares. “[Next] season is far off, but we’ve got most of our program doing what they need to do to improve [and] ensure that we continue to make those positive steps.”