The Clovis North varsity boys volleyball team continued its season of dominance, this time trouncing TRAC rivals the Buchanan Bears in a three-set sweep on the Broncos’ home court on March 28.
The Broncos, ranked seventh in both the state and national standings, have had a stretch of unrivaled success this season with an undefeated record of 25-0, including a 4-0 record in league play coming into the match.
It was the Broncos’ defense that led the stampede, as senior middle blockers Will Avera and Daniel Theng provided a stifling barrier at the net, racking up blocks throughout the contest and crushing kills against their conference rivals.
Both teams looked evenly matched to start the first set, with neither side able to get out in front by more than a couple of points.
With the game tied at 14, thanks to a block from Buchanan junior Marec Szpor, Clovis North began to gather momentum, going on a 5-1 run and prompting a Bears timeout.
Buchanan came out of the timeout and quickly earned two points to come within two of the leading Broncos at 19-17, but it wasn’t enough to swing the momentum, as Clovis North promptly went on another 5-1 run before taking the set, 25-18.
The second set began in similar fashion to the first, with neither team giving the other much ground. Clovis North continued to show its defensive prowess early in the set with a dig from senior TJ Hamel that led to a Broncos point and another on a block by senior Austin Lean.
At one point, the game was tied at three — that was the last tie of the set.
The Broncos jumped out in front and never looked back, going on an impressive run that included a couple aggressive kills from Clovis North senior Garrett Billhofer and an ace by Avera.
Leading 12-8, the Broncos went on let another run, this time allowing only four points to their opponents as they closed the second set out, 25-12.
In the third and final set of the match the Bears looked to avoid the sweep by making a stand. After the Broncos took a quick 6-2 lead, Buchanan responded by bringing the score to within one.
Clovis North clearly wasn’t trying to play a close match, as they resumed their thrashing of the Bears with a run that included a couple kills and another ace from Avera. The Broncos closed finished the sweep with a third set victory, 25-18.
After the match, Clovis North boys volleyball director Jason Powell commended the play and activity level of his seniors, namely Avera.
“He’s [Avera] getting better and better every day … He’s had a long road, and he’s worked hard,” Powell said. “He’s getting excited. He was really pumped for this one.”
Powell also noted the work the team has put in to carry on an undefeated season. He said the team had expected success last year but had “hit some bumps in the road.”
“These guys got together, especially the seniors, they got together and said, ‘We’re not doing that again,’” Powell said. “Every time we’ve kind of come up with some adversity, they’ve rallied together, they’ve come together, and they’ve gotten it done.”
Prior to the varsity game, the Clovis North frosh and junior varsity teams had dominant performances of their own, each winning their matches with two-set sweeps.