Brooks DeBartolo Collegiate High School was a little late getting to Wednesday’s boys volleyball matchup, which allowed the Venice Indians to host an impromptu practice as fans milled around inside The Teepee.
Turns out that Venice really didn’t need that extra session for a match that began about a half an hour behind schedule.
The Indians front line dominated the first set against a mistake-prone Phoenix squad, and the Indians went on to a 3-0 (25-8, 25-15, 25-23) district sweep.
Luke Wheatley had a pair of aces to open the match, then repeated kills by Josh Kinker, Jack DeBernardo and Park Dietz pushed Venice out to a 14-4 lead.
Dietz added a pair of aces before Phil Price put an exclamation point on the set with a kill down the heart of the DeBartolo defense.
“We’ve got some high flyers and some guys that can jump out of the gym,” Venice coach Brian Wheatley said. “That’s really going to help us when we have some more competitive teams coming in.”
In the second set, Venice pulled out to a 10-point lead thanks to more kills by Kinker and the rest of the front line.
After an ace by DeBernardo, Wheatley began putting in some of the newer players who have joined the team since basketball season. That group was able to close out the set in quick order.
Luke Wheatley’s fifth ace of the match put Venice up 5-0 to start the third set. The Phoenix staged their best rallies of the night and eventually fought back to take a 10-9 lead at one point.
But that advantage was short-lived after a couple of DeBartolo errors put Venice back in the lead. Brett Keyso, Spencer Green and several others built a six-point lead, though it nearly evaporated in the closing moments.
“Our new guys are working on a bunch of things, so it was good to get them some time on the court,” Wheatley said.
Venice improved to 5-0 overall and 3-0 in district play.
The Indians travel to Berkeley Prep on Tuesday and host 2018 state runner-up Celebration next Friday night in The Teepee.
“Next week will give us a chance to see where we’re at because only the district champion goes to the playoffs,” Wheatley said. “Celebration has some quality players, and it should be a really fun match.”