After the program swept Simi High School Thursday, April 21, Royal’s freshman team tied for first in the league and the JV team won the league.
Freshman Drew Watkins said this about his experience, “Overall volleyball was fun this year, and I got to meet many new people.”
Freshman Kaden Moberly wheeled his team back into the game after serving consistently, and they took the third set. Looking at this year’s JV team, only one game was lost throughout the league. The future is very bright for Royal’s volleyball program. Varsity also won the league beating Simi in three sets. Sensational senior stars like Evan Costley and Derrick Bradford had outstanding performances.
Throughout the season it has been a journey for the Royal Volleyball program. From the amount of time put into the team bonding, one could tell that this team has fully developed. The majority of this year’s varsity team is seniors so the experience is a real reason why they have a shot to win it all.
After winning, the league was just the beginning for the Varsity team. On April 28 they went on to play their first game of playoffs against Hart. Winning with a score of 3-1 Royal now advanced to the next round.
For years they have had good teams but struggled to make it to the second round of playoffs. This year it started to look promising for the highlanders because of the raw talent that was possessed on this team. That same week they would take on Garden Grove in an away game and ended up victorious. Not even allowing Garden Grove to win one set they won with a sweep. History has already been made for Royal as they were beginning to go into the third round. With the leadership of Coach Dean Borth and the practice put in, it was evident that the job was not yet finished.
On May 5 they went on to play Santiago. Royal would end up beating Santiago 3-1 leaving them one step closer to the CIF finals.
Sophomore Nolan Surarez weighed in on the situation said, “Wow. This is awesome to see how far they have come, and by the looks of it they are going to win CIF.”
With everybody favoring Royal and them being only one game away from the championship, it was almost destined for them to win. Saturday, May 7 they would took on Laguna Blanca for a chance to make the finals. The result of the game was a win in three sets as senior Evan Ford ripped a jump serve on match point to defeat Laguna Blanca in CIF Semi-Finals. Now the teams were set, in the final, it would be Upland which at the time had a record of 37 wins and 3 losses vs your Royal Highlanders. Going into the game players were locked in on the bus ride and ready to win it all.
Winning the first two sets in a somewhat close game Royal was one set away from glory. The score was 24-19, senior Evan Costley was back to serve and there it was an ace. Royal was now your CIF Division 3 Southern Section Champions. But the job was still not done. Now ranking them as the number one seed Royal would have every state game at home in the kingdom.
‘The first two rounds did not cause much havoc, Royal would beat Torrey Pines 3-0 and Sage Creek 3-1. This is now the farthest any team has made it in the history of the school. They are one game away from winning state. On May 21 the game of the year took place. Royal played Upland again who they beat in the CIF final. This time Upland was coming back with a different mindset. Some would say that they underestimated us the last time we matched up. The theme was Hawaiian and the student section was packed. Royal took the first set 25 – 21 and everybody was on their feet cheering. Knowing it would not come easy Upland then won the next two sets 25-19, and 25-20. It was now onto the fourth set, nerves were setting in for this could be the last set of the season. But Royal was not going to go home easily.
After starting slow, Upland took the lead by 10 plus points and many thought the season was over. But just when you thought it was, Royal completed a miracle comeback winning the set 26-24. The score was now tied 2-2 and whoever wins the next set takes it all. Upland ended up winning the last set 15-13 but it was nothing but smiles from our Royal families and players. Everyone was just happy to see how far the team has come along and proud of what they have accomplished. This year’s Varsity team included seniors: Spencer Borth, Evan Costley, Gavan Petersen, Nathan Diaz, Braeden Wooton, Stephen Tamacheepjaroen, Evan Ford, Jackson Waggoner, Garrett Ream, Kenneth Woods, Derek Bradford, and Will Bergen. Juniors, sophomores, and freshman were Trevor Watkins, Sean Nelson, Joey Nelson, Grayson Bradford, and Carter Borth.