It was the best season finale Castaic Coyotes boys’ volleyball could ask for. The team set out to win at least one Foothill League game this season and broke through the barrier in its final game of the season.
Castaic notched the program-first on Thursday after a sweep of the hosting West Ranch Wildcats, becoming just the second Foothill League team to sweep the Cats at home in over 12 years.
The Coyotes won the historic match 25-17, 25-17, 25-22, spoiling the Wildcats’ senior night.
Head coach David Chae has seen his team start well but lose confidence during the majority of matches this season, but something changed on Thursday.
“I just felt like as the game went on we gained more confidence,” Chae said in a phone interview. “Usually we lose it as the game goes on. “It was the last game and our goal was to win one league game this year. I think they just wanted it and went all-out for it.”
Castaic was led by junior Chris Apolinario with 11 kills and nine digs. Opposite hitter Riley Humphrey followed with nine kills while middle Quinn Broadwater registered seven kills and six blocks.
Broadwater and setter Dunstan Luego had standout performances on the net, keeping the West Ranch hitters off balance.
The Wildcats put up their best fight in the third set and jumped to an early lead. The game-saving run came off the serve of Coyotes junior Sebastian Ramirez, who caught fire at the end line.
Ramirez led Castaic to a 5-0 run with his serve. The junior picked up a pair of aces and kept West Ranch out of sync with his big serve, allowing the Coyotes to retake the lead.
Castaic maintained its momentum and won the final set, achieving its season-long goal.
“It feels great. I knew this year we were competitive but we were maybe a few hitters away,” Chae said. “Our defense and blocking was solid, but it was good to finally get this. We worked hard and did so much. Over the last two years, we’ve probably played in over 100 matches. These guys deserved that win.”
The Coyotes will now enter the offseason on a high and hope to take yet another jump as a program next year. The squad is fully made up of junior returners, who will all return now as seniors.
Chae believes his team has been right there all season but has dropped several matches due to lack of confidence. The win over West Ranch has given the group a new confidence that the coach will hope to see going into year three of the varsity program.
“I think the best thing about this group is that there was no belief in them,” Chae said. “We just went through the motions of the season. Now that everyone’s coming back, I hope that newfound belief in themselves returns, too. The biggest thing is just believing in ourselves. We know we have a tough league. If we can just believe in ourselves, the future will be bright.”