20 years in the making – Antioch High boys volleyball team wins league with 10-0 record

photo courtesy of Gina Kincaid Le Bier

Team members include: Ramon Mayorga, Alfredo Cabero, Marqui Manzon, Jordan Canales, Vince Morris, Cameron Mucio, Jordan LaBier, De’Andre Ruffin, Little John Overstreet, Jake Perkey, Justin Nguyen, Josh Johns and Jacob Raith. Head Coach David Driskell (left) and Assistant Coach Nicole Cuellar (right). photo courtesy of Gina Kincaid Le Bier

Host Irvington High from Fremont in NCS playoff game, tonight

By Luke Johnson

For the first time in two decades, Antioch High School’s boys’ volleyball team brought home the Bay Valley Athletic League Championship after finishing undefeated (10-0) in inter-league competition, on top of a 25-6 overall record.

The Panthers’ crosstown rival Deer Valley dominated the BVAL the past decade by going unbeaten in league play the previous nine seasons without losing a single set the latter five seasons. But the departure of legendary coach Lou Panzella, who won three consecutive North Coast Section Titles, along with graduating multiple key players among that dynasty, caused contention for the BVAL crown to become wide open.

“I’m gonna be honest, I didn’t [think this was possible],” senior outside hitter Josh Johns said, who led the NCS in attack kills with five per set, more than double the amount of anyone in the BVAL. “I thought Deer Valley was going to win it all four years that I was in high school.”

Coach David Diskell was a junior in 1996, when Antioch last won BVAL, but said he did not play on the team due to an injury. Ironically, the coach of the Panthers back then was Panzella; the year before he transferred to the newly established high school on the other side of the city.

“Anytime you’re in the same category as a Lou Panzella-type coach, who in my eye is a legend, is an honor,” Diskell said. “To even be thought of as a such a great coach to bring a championship back to Antioch as he did is a huge compliment, and I never thought I’d be in the position to be talking about Lou Panzella and myself.”

Along with Johns, a pair of other fellow seniors propelled the team to prosperity. 6-foot-8 middle hitter Jake Perky led the BVAL in blocks with 67, and was third in attack kills with 203. Setter Jordan LaBier was also a leader in NCS with 8.5 assists per set.

Antioch High School was in a dry spell the past four school years (2011-15), and did not win one league championship. But the Panthers rallied for two this year in boys’ volleyball and football.

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AHS Boys Vball team 2016

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