Drake brothers build off each other with West Ranch volleyball

West Ranch's Tyson Drake (22) celebrates a kill with teammate Derek Seo (4) during a playoff volleyball game against Palos Verdes at West Ranch last season. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

Moving to California 10 years ago, brothers Tyson and Zack Drake watched the oldest of the Drake brothers, Braden, play volleyball as children.

“He (Braden) played in club and high school at West Ranch,” Tyson said. “…We would watch him in tournaments and really started to pick things up.”

Now a senior at West Ranch, Tyson is taking full advantage of being able to play with his younger brother, Zack.

“It’s super cool to see all of our hard work pay off,” Tyson said. “We started playing on the same (club) team, but now we play on different teams at different levels. So it’s pretty sweet playing with him out here at West Ranch.”

Starting Foothill League play with a perfect 3-0 record (12-2 overall), West Ranch boys volleyball and the Drake brothers have excelled under first-year head coach Brandon Johnson.

“It’s exciting watching everything they do,” Johnson said. “I think they are both fantastic volleyball players. I’m just so grateful to have those two on the court. The more that they play together the more they trust each other and that equals more wins for the team.”

Tyson is West Ranch’s only returning starter from last year’s team that won the Foothill League title.

Bringing consistency and experience to the team Tyson described how he contributes to the team in more than one way.

“Experience,” Tyson said, describing what he brings to the Wildcats. “I have seen a lot of the teams that we played from last year so I help them out in that way. Helping them with spacing and adjusting on the fly.”

Tyson’s younger brother and sophomore, Zack, is already showing promising signs that he is learning and proving just as valuable as his older brother.

“He kind of sits back and lets me learn,” said Zack. “I pick up off his leadership and competitiveness and try to implement it into my own game as well.”

Zack is third on the team with 69 kills and second with 79 digs. While Tyson leads the team in assists (271) as the starting setter.

Playing different styles, both of them had a great start to the season in their second game against Thousand Oaks. Tyson dished out a season-high 45 assists with Zack providing an uptempo energy with 14 kills, 13 digs and five blocks.

“It’s great. I know having Zack out there I know I can rely on by keeping it in or getting a kill. And he brings a lot of energy especially tight ones,” Tyson said.

Rallying from a 2-0 deficit and forcing a decisive fifth game, Zack came up big with two blocks and a kill in the frame.

“It took us a little while to realize what we had with Zack, but with the needs of the team we switched him to outside hitter,” Johnson said. “No one really knew what to expect from Zack with Tyson being, in my opinion, the best player in the league. Now, ever since that match they have been doing great and working phenomenal together.”

Living and winning together, the Drake brothers have formed something special at West Ranch as they never stop trying to outdo the other.

“I think we are pretty good friends, we like to do things together,” Tyson said. “We are pretty close. Anything that involves competition we love doing whether it be playing 2k or shooting some hoops in the backyard.”

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