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Young Mustang volleyball starts building toward postseason

RIVERSIDE — A big part of high school volleyball is getting the team to play the same style as a cohesive unit and form that chemistry in the short spring season.

For Morton, this task is especially important because the young Mustangs have a number of players coming from different club backgrounds. So far it’s been rocky for Morton, which is 0-2 after losses to Lyons Township (25-18, 25-21) and Riverside Brookfield (28-26, 25-23).

Coach Tony Hornilla is hoping his junior-dominated roster can come together by the postseason.

“I told them at the beginning of the season you guys play at different places, but you gotta come together here and run the system that we play,” Hornilla said. “They’re all running different things and different tempo and it’s not what we want so it’s been a real big adjustment. I think we’ll get it together as the year progresses and hopefully by the end of the season and that’s when it matters.”

Junior outside hitter Andrew Franco is the team captain and is among a number of juniors that saw action on varsity last season. Andy Nevarez, Mauricio Torres and Daniel Ibarra will also play a big role for Morton.

Rashaad Mathis, a junior transfer from LT, is settling in to Morton’s style and had five kills against RB. Mathis is used to a power style of club volleyball, something the undersized Mustangs can’t afford to play.

“We don’t run that because we have to beat the blocks whereas he can hit over and around the blocks,” Hornilla said. “Height has never been a problem for us. We just have to outplay them. Be faster, be more crisp in our skills and execution.”

The setter position remains unsettled while Hornilla tries to find the right fit. Andres Guerrero, Eduardo Aguilar and Alejandro Olivares will be in the mix for that spot.

Morton returns to action Saturday at the Thornton Fractional North Invite. The Mustangs will be looking for their first match win of the season.

“I’m not too concerned,” Hornilla said. “Fitting into our system is not going to happen right away.”

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