Boys volleyball team trains for the season ahead

Karina Mara

After a pass from a teammate, junior David Mallari sets the volleyball back into play during a team practice after school.

Eager to improve from last season, the boys volleyball team goes through weeks of body conditioning and fundamental ball skill training.

“We’re training by working out our legs and arms this season just to get stronger,” sophomore varsity player Antonio Serrano said.

Birmingham Community Charter High School’s volleyball team will have their first preseason away-match on Feb. 28 against James Monroe High School. With limited opportunities to use the gym due to an ongoing basketball season, current practices involve a focus on strenuous weight exercises, endurance runs and sprints. When accessible, the team focuses on their serves and passes the ball inside the gym.

“(If) you can’t serve, you can’t earn the point and if the other team is serving and you can’t pass the ball, then you can’t earn points either,” coach LeAnne Bennett-Riley said. “Definitely passing and serving and that’s honestly what we’ve been working on.”

The team will participate in tournament matches against Chatsworth Charter High School on April 14 and against Sylmar Charter High School on April 21. A few teams of the same league will also be competing in both of these tournaments along with other California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern Section teams.

The team hopes to gain more experience of playing against others as well use it as a way to prepare for league and playoffs. A few members on the team moved up from the previous season, such as junior David Mallari and Serrano, who were both in junior varsity but now play for varsity.

So far, the team is making progress as they continue to strive for greater improvement, especially the newcomers who have become much more experienced and skilled compared to how they were a few weeks ago.

“Moving on from junior varsity, I think would be a big step,” Mallari said. “I’ll be a lot more challenging and complicated but I think it’ll be good for me because I can really develop my skills.”