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West Valley City Journal

Wolverines boys volleyball having strong first season

May 06, 2024 11:06AM ● By Greg James

The Wolverines have had lots to celebrate in their first volleyball season. (Photo courtesy of @_mylesphotography)

Hunter High School boys volleyball entered the arena this season as a fully sanctioned sport by the UHSAA. Hunter has had a team that is in contention for a state title. “For the first year it feels really awesome,” Wolverines head coach KJ Ng said. “The way the boys have come together as a team. I couldn’t be happier as a coach.” The Wolverines have worked together to start their inaugural season strong. At press time they have a 19-4 record and find themselves ranked fourth in the latest RPI. “With the first year of anything there are always a few hurdles. It has been simple things like uniforms, sharing gym time with the other spring sports. The admin at Hunter has been great to work with us and take care of our team. They have helped us do what we need to do and help us try to win games,” Ng said. The team is made up of relatively inexperienced players. Only two currently play club volleyball. The Wolverines setter, Ethan Larsen, has had club experience, but had taken a couple of years off. As a senior Larsen is top five in the state with 324 assists. His ball handling prowess has helped direct the offense. Outside hitters Jordyn Vagana and Pasi Havea have benefited by striking nearly 300 kills between them, both rank top five in the state. “Those three guys are the ones the fans will notice. They touch the ball and are involved in the offensive plays we run,” Ng said. “Over the last few weeks of the season our middle blockers have really picked up. They get above the net and will surprise a few teams.” Seniors Marshall Holdaway and Daniel Casas lead the team in blocks. Learning the game has been challenging for the less experienced players, but Ng pointed out they are changing every day. “This team has been very receptive and are learning the game and job we do. We just need to get better every day,” he said. The team was scheduled to play its last home game April 30 against Taylorsville. The state tournament is scheduled to begin May 14 and conclude May 18 at UVU. “We are getting a lot of support from the Hunter students. There is an excitement around the school,” Ng said. “We need to focus on our defensive fundamentals and our blocking techniques then we can compete with any team in the state. We could surprise some teams.” Ng is special education teacher at the school and is the boys’ head basketball coach. He played varsity high school basketball and volleyball at James B. Castle High School in Hawaii. He earned his bachelor’s degree at The University of Providence in Montana where he also played college basketball. He encourages his players to participate in multiple sports. He has also used the knowledge the girls’ volleyball players have to help improve his younger players. “It is amazing about this team. Most of them did not know each other before the season began. They have become friends. The way they have connected is amazing. I have encouraged my basketball players to come out and play. It helps them develop muscles they don’t always use playing basketball,” Ng said. The popularity of boys’ volleyball is rising. With the growth of the sport and the support of the UHSAA its players have a place to showcase their skills. Some local athletes could have the opportunity to play after their high school graduation at the collegiate level. l