Boys’ Volleyball Preps For Game Against All-Time Gondolier Rival, The Palisades Dolphins

Samuel Laxamana, Sports Editor

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Boys’ volleyball, 8-4, will face off against Palisades, Venice’s rival, in their home court today at 4:30 p.m. in their third league game of the season.

Venice went 0-2 against Palisades last season.

Coach Raul Aviles said that if they have the talent and the team that should win, then he trusts the boys.

“Generally, Palisades has been on the winning side the last few years. So it’s been tough, but I have confidence in the boys to go out there and compete at a high level,” he said.

Aviles said that despite not having the success against Palisades as compared to other teams, their overall goal is to always play “high level competitive volleyball.”

“No matter if it’s Palisades, West Valley or whoever’s on the other side of the court, we just want to play hard, play together, and play good, high level competitive volleyball,” he said.

However, the teams’ goal also changes throughout the year in order to shape the team to the best of its capabilities.

“Our first and foremost is to come together as a team and build something special,” he said.

“And from there we play some competition and that lets us know how high or how far we can go into the season.”

Aviles said that there are “a lot of really good teams” this year and that they need to keep everyone in-line to keep up with the opposing teams to be able to compete. 

“And also hopefully get our players more seasoned and see where the playoffs take us,” he said. 

For the last few years, Palisades has had the same coach, Carlos Gray. Aviles said that ever since he’s been coaching the Dolphins, the team has been playing volleyball at a high level. 

“Some would compare them to a college team—that’s how good some of his teams are,” he said.

Aviles said that he anticipates a fast-paced game and maybe even a hostile environment.

“It’s a rivalry and Palisades is up there. We’re just trying to compete and play at a high level and hopefully, we can take the match and give them a tough job,” he said. 

Aviles said that senior Nathan Lee, a captain who’s been on the team for four years, and sophomore Noah Smith, and senior Eric Johannsen, a returning outside hitter, have been instrumental to helping the team get them where they are.

“Those three guys are some of the leaders and players who are helping us get to where we get to as a team,” he said. 

Four of the Gondos’ six starters are not in the Period 6 volleyball class. That’s going to be a challenge, according to Aviles. 

“We’re gaining traction now later in the season than we like. We hope we can get this past us and get a little more chemistry and cohesion to try and catch up with the rest of the teams who don’t have as many of the same issues as we do,” he said. 

Adding on top of that, the team has lost many seniors. But regardless, Aviles states that the team morale has been high.

“So the question was, how are we going to all improve together?” Aviles said.

The Gondos will also have more time to practice since the basketball seasons have wrapped up. 

“We have the complete set to the whole gym, the kids are looking optimistic and the energy in the gym and the practices have been outstanding and we look forward to a good season,” Aviles said.