Haybalers senior Michael Curto was a force all season at middle blocker, proving to be potent on the attack and strong defensively on the block. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.

Despite closing the season with four consecutive losses—including a season-ending three-set defeat to Evergreen Valley in a Central Coast Section Division I playoff opener on May 8—Hollister High boys volleyball coach Adrian Masoni said he couldn’t be more pleased in what the team accomplished. 

The Haybalers finished 21-11 and just as important Masoni said they laid down a solid foundation for future, sustained success. 

“I saw a lot of positives from the underclassmen that we can take forward into next year,” he said. “Certainly the fact that we had three sophomores [Henry Schwarzwaelder, Abraham Corona and Diego Martinez-Ruiz] that earned starting roles on a CCS-caliber team were pleasant surprises. We would not be here if it weren’t for the sophomores, which is wild to think about.” 

Hollister does graduate one of the best liberos in the section in Nolan Foster, who delivered textbook passes and plenty of highlight-reel, one-fisted diving digs, which often led to unforced errors from other teams. 

“We certainly have some big shoes to fill and Nolan is one of them,” Masoni said. “You can’t really replace a guy like him—we just hope to do our best to make up for that loss.”

The Balers also graduate their top three middle blockers, including Michael Curto, who was potent on the quick set attacks. 

“I’m really proud of our seniors and what they gave to this program,” Masoni said. “It’s tough to lose them.” 

Despite getting beaten handily by Evergreen Valley, Masoni said the returning players can use it to grow. Junior setter Carlos Garcia had a fantastic season and looks to be one of the best at the position in the Pacific Coast Athletic League next season. 

“I think the biggest thing we take away from this is what it takes inside, not the skillset but the mental side of it,” he said. “And you only get that by playing competitive games. The more competition we face, the better we’re going to be in situations like this. … I absolutely see the potential of this program. Most of the boys are going to be playing club in the fall, and that’s only going to help their growth. We know what we have to do to become an elite program. We just have to put in the work now.”

Though Masoni coaches club and previously was an assistant coach at Hollister for a handful of years, being the head coach brings with it a greater responsibility he plans on taking on. “The players aren’t the only ones that have to grow—I have to grow as a coach as well,” he said. “So I’ll be doing that [in the off-season].”

The Hollister boys volleyball team had plenty of points to celebrate this season. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
Balers senior Nolan Foster had another standout season as one of the best liberos in the CCS. Photo by Jonathan Natividad.
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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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