Culver City Observer -

By Steve Finley
Sports Editor 

Culver City high school boys' volleyball stays competitive during losing season

 

April 21, 2022

George Laase

Kenji Toombs (left) and Henry Brownlow go up for the block during the Culver City Invitational Volleyball Tournament last Saturday.

The Culver City boys high school volleyball team is stuck between a rock and a hard place. The 2022 team has a lot of inexperience and young players, and they are competing in one of the best leagues in the nation according to head Culver City coach Joe Manzo.

Manzo, who has been playing or coaching volleyball most of his life keeps a positive attitude despite facing top teams almost every week in the Bay league. "I have known about this league for years and years," said Manzo who is in his 11th season coaching volleyball at Culver City. "Even before I was coaching, I was playing against Mira Costa and Redondo. I know a lot of the coaches and players from those teams."

Playing against teams in the South Bay is big disadvantage for Culver City. "It's really hard on us because we are not a volleyball school,' said Manzo. "Those schools in the South Bay have year-round programs and the kids benefit from playing at the local beaches and playing for top club teams."

This season Manzo wanted his players to improve and have fun. He also wanted the team to perform well in the annual Culver City Volleyball Invitational which was played last Saturday inside the Culver City gym.

"The tournament went pretty well this year," said Manzo last Saturday. "We had some compatible teams that were on the same level as Culver City. Every team is having a real good time and there have been some very competitive games."

Culver City won all three matches and took first place in their pool play. The three teams they beat in the pool were MSA, Paramount JV and Lawndale. The Centaurs did not make it to the final, but the team stayed competitive. DaVinci won the tournament and Culver City's Tyler Chang made the All-Tournament team.

Despite having a 5-15 record and being winless in the Bay league Manzo sees a lot of positive things in his team. "I like their attitude about the game, and they are improving, and they want to get better and hopefully they are enjoying what they are they are doing and they are learning every position to help them get better."

George Laase

Culver City junior Matt Cowan spikes the ball against Paramount during the Culver City Volleyball Invitational last Saturday at the Culver City gym.

When you mention Culver City has some inexperience players Henry Brownlow is a perfect example. Brownlow is a 6'4 football player with a volleyball body, and he started playing volleyball two and a half months ago. He is the kicker and punter on the football team.

"I was too slow to run track and I wasn't that good in basketball, so I decided to play volleyball." said Brownlow. "I like to stay active in sports. The volleyball team is not winning a lot of game so we just try to minimize our errors and play the best that we can and move on to the next game." Brownlow has developed into one of the best players on the team according to Manzo.

Coach Manzo is still having fun in the world of volleyball. "I enjoy the kids and what they get out of the game. This game has given so much to me, so I just want to give something back to the players."

 

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