By Katelyn Merrell
The Tustin varsity boys’ volleyball team competed against Garden Grove Tuesday, March 1 in their first game of preseason. Tustin and Garden Grove both stepped on the court ready to play, ready to compete, and ready to win. However, Garden Grove’s efforts came up short against the Tillers’ powerhouse front line. With a total of 44 kills, the Tillers swept the Argonauts in three games sending a message that this year’s team is in it to win it.
Game One of the three game sweep stayed close throughout the match. Both Tustin and Garden Grove were full of energy and successful on the attack. Middle Blocker Preston McInnes (#13), middle blocker Drew Donahoo (#9), and right side Alema Pilimai each had three kills apiece contributing to the Tillers’ 25-22 victory in the first game.
After losing the first game to the dominant Tillers, Garden Grove struggled to bounce back. With momentum on their side the Tillers put away the second game 25-13. Sophomore Drew Donahoo, with 13 serves in a row helped lead the Tillers to victory in the second match. Josh DeBest, the starting setter, also played exceptionally in the second game with a pristine performance showing off his new jump serve and sensational sets.
Holding on to their last hope of winning the match, Garden Grove put in their best effort to try and defeat the Tillers’ in the third game to force a fourth, however, their efforts, though valiant, were unsuccessful. The game stayed extremely close with the Argonauts leading the way for most of the game, but the Tillers did not give up. Preston “The Wall” McInnes was Garden Grove’s worst nightmare at the net the whole game, but especially in the third. McInnes had 8 kills and 12 hits keeping the Tillers in the game. His energy after each play energized his teammates and changed the momentum of the game as the Tillers neared the end of the match. The game was back and forth until the very end when the Tillers finally put away the game with a kill by Alema Pilimai (#6) to win the game 30-28.
The Tillers played a phenomenal game of volleyball and showed true promise and potential to do extremely well this season. Come out and support the varsity boys as they play against Segerstrom High School today March 2nd at 4:30 pm.