HomeNewsCHS boys’ volleyball team anticipates success in league season

CHS boys’ volleyball team anticipates success in league season

Published March 5, 2024

BY DANIELA FOLEY 

Following the success of past years in the Central Coast Section and Gabilan league, the CHS boys’ varsity volleyball team, league winners since 2016, have fostered growth through an Ivy League Division-I commitment, welcomed a new coach and are aiming to top the wins of past years.

New to the CHS team this year, head coach Jim Airola has integrated a strong work ethic, practice schedules and team-building skills in order to set the team up for success this season. While adjusting to the new coach may add some challenges to the team dynamic, Airola has been working to bring out the skills of each and every player.

The varsity volleyball team celebrate success of a home game last year. (photo by SHERMAN CHU)

“We are taking a team approach to success,” Airola says. “Ensuring that each of us knows our role and works relentlessly to achieve proficiency in those skills is required.”

League winners since 2016 and CCS champions in 2018, the team is looking to continue their reign and add another CCS trophy to their collection. After coming second in both CCS and the NorCal state finals last year, the team is integrating new strategies to use the strengths of each player to their advantage.

Leadership has also been a fundamental strength in the program in recent years. Senior Sebastian Daste, one of the team’s captains alongside junior Nicolas Vitiello, has not only helped the team through his skills but also through his strong leadership and sportsmanship both on and off the volleyball court.

Sebastian Daste is a four-year member of Bay to Bay Volleyball, who succeeded in winning a national championship in 2022. (courtesy of SEBASTIAN DASTE)

“Everyone dreams of winning CCS, but honestly cherishing the last season I have of being in the high school team has become really important,” Daste says. “Freshman year, all we cared about was winning, but now it’s about enjoying the last times in my hometown with my team.”

Now committed to play for Princeton University and playing volleyball for his sixth year, Daste leads the league in assists and kills. Also a four-year member of the club team Bay to Bay Volleyball, three-time national champions, and a member of the National Championship Olympic training team, Daste is well known for his commitment to the game.

“Sebastian Daste is one of the best volleyball players to come through our program,” says assistant coach Shelby Goldman. “He is one of the hardest working kids I’ve ever met. He has put in countless hours overcoming every obstacle put in front of him to accomplish his dreams of playing Division-I volleyball.” 

Sophomore Drew Galy, a two-year defensive specialist as libero, notes that for a team of this skill, getting past small obstacles will only enhance the abilities of the team. Following last year’s success, the volleyball team is looking to adjust any minor issues that came up previously. 

“Leading up to big games, our mindsets would be impacted by small mistakes, and if we get past that this year, we can improve heavily,” Galy says.

In order to hone skills, the CHS team practices six days a week until league play begins, and then they will switch

Sebastian Daste, a senior headed to Princeton University, spikes a volleyball midair at a home game last season. (photo by SHERMAN CHU)

practices to a couple of times a week. The volleyball team adjusts their strategies depending on what team they are against, exploiting the weakest part of the opposing team. Ultimately, the team owes their success to their dedication and consistency, according to Goldman.

“These boys are hungry,” Goldman says. “They put so much work in during the off-season because they had goals they fell just short of last year. They know what it’s like to go all the way and want that feeling again.”

The team won their first game of the season Feb. 29 at Scotts Valley High School (3-1), played at the Wilcox tournament in Santa Clara on March 2 and will be playing at the Peninsula Classic at Carmel High School on March 9.

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