Moorpark Raiders kick off men’s volleyball season with an annual alumni game


The Moorpark College men’s volleyball team celebrate as a unit during the annual alumni volleyball game. Photo credit: Danny Stipanovich

By Danny Stipanovich

“It’s good to see a lot of the old generations of Raiders and new generations of Raiders come together and have a good time playing the game we love,” Moorpark College head coach Aaron Hedland said. “I know the guys were looking at it as a real match and an opportunity to prove their work.”

Head Coach Aaron Hedland talks strategy and carpool plans with the men’s volleyball team in the Moorpark College gym on January 16, 2019. They were discussing the details of a volleyball tournament at Long Beach City College. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

The alumni took the first lead up 1-0, the only lead they would see in the first set. The Raiders took over behind a dominating front row made up of 6-foot-5 freshman setter Steven Weese, 6-foot-6 freshman middle blocker Austin Hignite, and 6-foot-3 freshman right side hitter, Gurpreet Ghotra. They towered over the alumni who struggled to get in a rhythm.

With a pair of aces from sophomore Jordan Moses, the Raiders took a confident 11-6 lead and went on to win 25-16.

In the second set, the Raiders took an early 7-4 lead, but the alumni finally warmed up. It went back and forth until the alumni pulled forward, winning 27-25.

The intensity carried into the third set. With the score at 9-8, freshman Ryan Horan served a pair of back to back aces, giving the Raiders a push as they went on a 10-5 run to put the score at 19-13. Although the alumni finished with a 7-2 run, the hole they dug themselves earlier was too much to climb out of, and the Raiders went on to win 25-22.

The alumni carried their intensity from the third set into the fourth set as both teams traded points until it was 9-9. An Austin Hignite kill put the Raiders up one, however it was the last time the Raiders would see the lead and lost the set 25-20.

“They’re a little rough, they make some errors they need to clean up, but there is a lot of talent and a lot of potential,” Alex Barr said, assistant coach for the Raiders said.

The alumni built off the fourth set, taking an early 2-6 lead in the fifth and final set. After challenging a controversial call, the alumni received a yellow card. This disrupted their momentum, which allowed the Raiders to come back and take the lead with a kill from freshman Ray Parra-Lopez, putting them up 9-8.

After it was announced the set would go to 25 points instead of the customary 15, both teams fought to build a lead. The match was tied at 26-26 when Parra-Lopez came up big for the Raiders with the kill to put them up one and finished off the alumni with a game-winning block and point.

Middle Blocker Brandon Dela Fuente extends himself to tip the ball over the net during practice on January 16, 2019 in the Moorpark College gym. The men’s volleyball team was preparing for their upcoming tournament at Long Beach City College, as well as the annual alumni game. Photo credit: Evan Reinhardt

Heading into the 2019 season, the Raiders look to build off an exciting first preseason victory. After a disappointing 2018 season, the team is determined to bounce back and finish this season with a conference title.

“We expect to at least make a run in playoffs, if not go to state,” Dylan Haskell said confidently, a sophomore middle blocker for the Raiders.

Alex Barr summed it up perfectly. “Conference champs or bust.”

To follow the Raiders this season, visit Moorpark College Athletics website.