The St. John’s Mavericks’ Boys' Varsity Volleyball victory of the Houston Cup merited an applause of hundreds of marveled Maverick fans, celebrating the second Houston Cup championship win in the history of the Boys’ Volleyball program, and the first under head coach Chaz Hulet.
“We had a tough semi-final and final, both of which went to a tie-breaking third set,” said Hulet. “It was an improvement from previous seasons in that we were able to finish out tough three-set matches.”
The victory was not an easy one, however. The tournament began simply enough for the Mavs; a sweep of the Trinity Valley Trojans on Friday in two sets, led by a barrage of serves from senior captain Marcus Manca’16. St. John’s finished the day with a second round win over the Spike Sport club team. The biggest challenge came on Saturday against the Greenhill Hornets, a team that previously took down St. John’s earlier in the year in Dallas. The game took three sets, with the Mavericks finishing off the 3rd set 15-13. The momentum ultimately stuck with St. John’s after setter Gabe Malek ‘16 floated one up for Joseph Hanson’16 who smashed the ball in between two Hornet players. In what was a down to the wire game, the spike that gave the Mavericks a one point lead late in the contest was the decider. Malek spoke about the change in attitude against Greenhill, discussing how the team “spent a lot of time in practice working on little things like serving, being more intense with [their] defense, just conditioning hard, knowing what [Greenhill] specialize[s] in and how [the Mavericks] can react to that.”
In the championship game St. John’s faced the 2014 SPC Champion, St. Mark’s Lions. St. Mark’s had won the Houston Cup the previous three years, and along with Greenhill, have been consistently at the top of the SPC. The final also went to three games with the Mavericks pulling out the 3rd set, 15-13.
“We have started working on the main items that kept these games close and gave us a chance to win,” said Hulet. “At SPC in November we will need to win three out of five sets.”
Look for them to continue their momentum as they stay at home to take on Episcopal on Thursday.