HomeBlocksFront-GridBoys' Volleyball: Moggio Earns League MVP Award, All-CIF Selection

Boys’ Volleyball: Moggio Earns League MVP Award, All-CIF Selection

It was a historic season for the San Marino High boys’ volleyball team, one that culminated in the program’s first appearance in a CIF Southern Section championship game and a share of the Rio Hondo League crown.

In the middle of the success seemed to be three common denominators: juniors Luca Moggio and Casey Chan and senior Ryan Wang.

Moggio, Chan and Wang earned all-CIF honors, and, along with three other Titans, were recognized with all-league accolades in what San Marino coach Tony Chou called a “magical season” thanks to support of parents and fans alike.

“We were really blessed for a lot of things to come together,” Chou said. “We had a great coaching staff and a lot of opportunities just showed up, and we were able to get a full experience this year.”

Chan, Wang and Moggio were named to the Division V all-CIF team. Along with his all-CIF selection, Moggio earned Rio Hondo League most valuable player honors after helping the Titans clinch a share of the league title.

“It feels great to win this award,” Moggio said of the MVP honor. “A lot of work went behind it — playing club volleyball and season.”

Chou praised Moggio for his “standout” efforts and commended his leadership skills.

“Luca is one of those players we get once in a blue moon,” Chou said. “Not only is he very skilled and competitive, but he has all the characteristics of a leader. He leads by example and has the capability to corral all of the different personalities on our team.”

The junior extended his gratitude to his coaches, teammates and team supporters for helping him achieve the recognition.

“It means the world. We couldn’t do it without them,” Moggio said.

The Titans were a force to be reckoned with during their run to the CIF Southern Section Division V title match.

San Marino, which was ranked No. 4 in the final divisional poll, swept every round on the way to the final at Cerritos College.

“It took time for us to build the program to this extent, but, hopefully, we can continue this,” said Chou as he reflected on the team’s accomplishments. “I’m here because of the coaches that were here before me, so hopefully we can keep this program going and keep trucking along.”

The Titans opened the playoffs with a sweep of Oakwood, a straight-set victory over Glendale Adventist in the second round, and a three-game win over El Rancho in the quarterfinal. San Marino swept No. 8 Rio Mesa in the semifinals to secure its first title appearance.

San Marino faced Pacific Hills League representative Sage Hill for the CIF crown, a bout that went the distance. The Titans ultimately fell to the Lightning in five games, 25-19, 22-25, 25-22, 18-25, 13-15.

The CIF Division V player of the year was Sage Hill junior Jackson Cryst, and the Lightning’s Shelby Young was named coach of the year.

Along with Moggio’s MVP honors, Chan and Wang were all-league first-team selections, and Titans senior Jeff Li and junior Jared Wang received second-team honors. San Marino sophomore Ryan Lee was selected as honorable mention.

“Jeff Li is usually the most underappreciated player on our team,” Chou said. “I think him and Ryan [Wang] are going to be big losses to us. But we can expect a lot [from the others].”

Chou also praised the efforts of Chan, who the coach said has really taken a step forward in his athletic career both as a basketball and volleyball player.

“He’s a threat in front row and back row,” Chou said. “I think we all worked together a lot more on his ball placement and his other skill sets — passing and stuff like that. They’ve really shown as we went through each round of the playoffs.”

The coach also highlighted Ryan Wang’s offensive prowess throughout his senior year, providing the spark the Titans needed to go deep into the postseason.

“He’s always hit with a lot of power, but this year, he came in and he was playing like the college players I’d see — high IQ, placing the ball, seeing the game,” Chou said of the senior. “I think it’s well-deserved that he got his CIF mention this year.”

The title-winning campaign was a major turnaround from a 9-19 overall record and 2-6 league mark last season. The Titans also previously finished as league runner-up twice in 2018 and 2019 before the pandemic-shortened season in 2020.

Photo by Nathan Cambridge / San Marino High junior Luca Moggio earned all-CIF honors and the Rio Hondo League MVP award following a successful boys’ volleyball season.

“Ever since the beginning of the year, I felt it would be a good year,” Moggio said. “I felt like this would be the mark of a step forward for San Marino volleyball, and it really allowed us to improve our program.”

The Titans secured season sweeps over league opponents Monrovia, La Cañada and Temple City on the way to earning a share of the Rio Hondo League crown.

San Marino ended rival South Pasadena’s 10-match unbeaten league run on March 19. The reigning champion Tigers, however, avenged their loss to the Titans on April 11 in a five-game thriller.

“That loss hurt,” Moggio said. “I think that drove us for CIF. That really woke us up and made us feel like we have to train even harder if we wanted to win CIF.”

Chou highlighted the efforts of assistant coaches Brandon Wong, Hanna Wang and Holly Wong in guiding the Titans to a 26-7-1 overall record and 7-1 mark in league. Despite a few departing seniors, Chou, Moggio and the rest of the San Marino boys’ volleyball team will look to continue their success next spring.

“I definitely feel like, next year, we’re someone to keep an eye on, because obviously, we have that chip on our shoulder from losing in the championship,” Moggio said.

First published in the June 6 issue of the San Marino Tribune

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