Boy’s Volleyball Makes Return to Playoffs in 17-Win Season

Boy’s Volleyball Makes Return to Playoffs in 17-Win Season

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Donovan Catholic

The 2016 season for boy’s volleyball was much different than the 2015 season. It resulted in 17 wins and a return to the playoffs after missing out in 2015. Here is our 2016 boy’s volleyball season review.

The season got off to a rough start for the Pirates as the team sported a 1-4 mark after the first five matches. The season opener was a hard-luck 2-1 loss to Olympic-National rival Collingswood.

Cinnaminson’s first win of the 2016 season came by a 2-1 score over Woodrow Wilson right in the middle of the first five matches.

At the first round of the Backyard Brawl, the Pirates suffered losses to rivals Moorestown and Pennsauken. Those were the final two losses of the 1-4 stretch to begin the year.

What happened after the 1-4 start was what helped the Pirates return to the playoffs in 2016.

Cinnaminson reeled off nine straight wins to flip their record to 10-4.

“They didn’t want to look too far ahead,” head coach Robert Spier said. “We went day-to-day with our games. They looked at each game as what can we do today that can help us improve tomorrow? They never looked past a game.

The win streak was snapped with a 2-0 loss to Pennsauken in the second round of the Backyard Brawl.

The first match after the win streak was snapped came against Collingswood and the Pirates rebounded with a 2-1 victory.

“Beating Collingswood the second time we played them. We felt robbed the first game of the season and we hadn’t gelled yet as a team,” Spier said. “Losing to them the first game of the season hurt. We could’ve beaten them then, but beating them in their gym was good because it prevented them being undefeated during the regular season.”

“We beat them again in the WJVL Tournament Day, even though it didn’t count towards our records. They were timed matches and we were tied after two games. We played the third set as a one-point playoff game and won. Even though it wasn’t a league game, it was still our second victory over Collingswood this season.”

The team’s 10th win came earlier in that second round, 2-0 over Moorestown.

In the third round of the Backyard Brawl, senior Pat McCarthy recorded his 600th career kill against Pennsauken, becoming the first player in program history to reach the milestone.

“All the kids look at that and say, ‘Ok, we want to set some milestones,'” Spier said. “Even though our team is young and developing, there’s still a lot of great moments they can have as a team or individually. It’s cool to see those individual milestones thrown in there with the team ones as well.”

Cinnaminson struggled down the stretch, playing to a record of 7-9 to finish at 17-13, but the win streak put the Pirates back in playoff contention.

The Pirates play in the Olympic-National and went 7-3 in division play this season, finishing in third place, just two games out of first and one out of second behind Collingswood and Pennsauken Tech.

Cinnaminson earned the #10 seed in the South Tournament and traveled to #7 Donovan Catholic in the first round. The Pirates season ended at Donovan Catholic with a 2-0 loss.

“It was huge,” Spier said of the playoff berth. “I wanted these younger kids to know what it felt like to be part of a winning program again. With so many sophomores on the team this year, the only thing they knew was not making the playoffs the year before.”

“Having so many sophomores playing in that game this year, it gives them confidence for next year. Now we know what it takes to win in the playoffs. We can use that to grow and build from there.”

Spier talked about how he wants his returners to approach the game during the off-season.

“The teams that are really good play all the time and love the sport. The more you do anything, the better you are at it. If they’re not going to do something else, find a way to play volleyball and keep getting better. With the kids that we have, they all have that appetite and the hunger for the game. It’s fun when practice ends and the kids don’t want to go home. I want them to have that hunger not only during our two months out of the year, but the other 10 months of the year too.”

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Jim is the creator and editor of Cinn City Sports. He also created At the Dish, Life With Tony and Enzo and is the owner of JAVFreelancing. He coached baseball for five years, three at his former high school (Holy Cross in Delran, NJ) and two at prominent Division III program Rowan University in Glassboro, NJ as an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator. He has worked for the Courier-Post in Cherry Hill, NJ; Metro Networks in Bala Cynwyd, PA; and was the play-by-play announcer for the Camden Riversharks of the Independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball for two seasons (2007-2008) on Rowan Radio 89.7 WGLS-FM, the student-run radio station at Rowan University. Jim earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications and minor in Journalism from Rowan University in 2008. While in school he was the Assistant Sports Director at WGLS for two years and the Sports Director for one year. He also covered the football, baseball, softball and both basketball teams for the school newspaper 'The Whit.' He is the former Sports Editor for the Cinnaminson and Moorestown Patch websites. Jim lives in New Jersey with his wife Nicole, sons Tony and Enzo and dog Phoebe. He can be reached at jimvassallo@cinncitynews.com