2017-05-18 / Sports

Howl for history

Coyotes make case that they’re the best boys’ volleyball team ever at school
BOYS’ VOLLEYBALL /// Calabasas Coyotes
By Nate Smith
Special to The Acorn


YOUTH BRIGADE—Calabasas players celebrate during a playoff quarterfinal win against Quartz Hill. YOUTH BRIGADE—Calabasas players celebrate during a playoff quarterfinal win against Quartz Hill. This isn’t a renaissance.

This is a golden age.

Calabasas High’s boys’ volleyball team is savoring the greatest season in program history.

The Coyotes racked up a single-season school record for wins—they were 26-6 overall at press time—and they vaulted to their deepest playoff run ever, reaching the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 semifinals.

Calabasas battled Laguna Hills in the Division 2 semifinals on Wednesday, but a final score was not available at this newspaper’s deadline.

It has been a magical spring for the Coyotes.

“This season has been great for us as a team,” senior opposite Martin Barbosa said.

Calabasas was never known for its volleyball prowess, but the team reached new heights when head coach Cory Chandler arrived in 2010.


OVER THE TOP—Calabasas High boys’ volleyball outside hitter Joshua Strick spikes the ball against Quartz Hill in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoff quarterfinals on May 13 at home. 
Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers OVER THE TOP—Calabasas High boys’ volleyball outside hitter Joshua Strick spikes the ball against Quartz Hill in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2 playoff quarterfinals on May 13 at home. Photos by MICHAEL COONS/Acorn Newspapers Chandler led the Coyotes to their only two postseason appearances in program history; they reached the dance and won a wild card match in 2013.

Calabasas and Oak Park were the only local teams still alive in the postseason entering this week.

Chandler said he is stepping down as athletic director at the end of the season, citing his family as the decisive factor in the decision.

“I have three wonderful kids,” Chandler said. “Brendin is going to Pepperdine, but he has one more year here. I just want to watch his journey, enjoy his journey.”

The coach’s oldest son, Brendin Chandler, a junior setter for Calabasas, verbally committed to play volleyball for Pepperdine.


Martin Barbosa Martin Barbosa Cory Chandler told The Acorn that this might be his last year as head coach—if the Coyotes win a ring.

“If we win the whole thing, I might have to ride off into the sunset,” he said. “I will most likely come back to coach next year because Brendin is a senior.”

Calabasas, which was ranked No. 1 in the Division 2 poll for part of the season, played like a juggernaut in a 25-17, 25-17, 25-23 home win against Quartz Hill in the quarterfinals on May 13 at home.

Barbosa credited the team’s depth for carrying the Coyotes to new heights this spring.

“We are solid at every position,” Barbosa said. “It’s not like some teams where they have one really good player but the rest of the team is a little weaker. We are solid all 15 down.”


FORCE OF NATURE—Calabasas head coach Cory Chandler speaks to his players during a game against Quartz Hill. Chandler told The Acorn he is stepping down as the school’s athletic director after the season. FORCE OF NATURE—Calabasas head coach Cory Chandler speaks to his players during a game against Quartz Hill. Chandler told The Acorn he is stepping down as the school’s athletic director after the season. Depth and talent are two crucial elements for any successful squad.

Calabasas’ chemistry takes the squad to another level.

“The only word to describe it is family,” senior outside hitter Joshua Strick said. “We work so well together. We treat each other with respect and we always have each other’s backs.”

Brendin Chandler agreed with his teammate.

“We are really close,” he said. “It’s just fun playing with this group of guys.”

The chemistry is evident during matches. The Coyotes are constantly hooting and hollering, supporting one another through every point.

It doesn’t end with volleyball: The teammates are close off the court.

“We respect each other, we work well together and we are best friends,” Strick said. “Off the court, I see that we always have each other’s backs. If someone needs help, we will be there, and we are still good friends.”

The Coyotes like each other.

That’s what it’s all about.

“I think we all have a great relationship,” Barbosa said. “There are no real superstars on this team. Brendin is going to Pepperdine, but we are all really even-keel. We are all on the same level—and that’s been a big help.”

The Coyotes in a nutshell

• Calabasas High’s boys’ volleyball team reached the CIF-Southern Section playoff semifinals for the first time in program history.

• Calabasas established a single-season school record for wins this season. The team was 26-6 overall at press time.

• Head coach Cory Chandler, who’s led the team since 2010, is stepping down as the school’s athletic director at end of the season.

• Harrison Franz, Jack Ribarich, Joshua Strick, Martin Barbosa and Nima Atighetchi are Calabasas seniors.

• The Coyotes played Laguna Hills on Wednesday in a Division 2 semifinal, but a final score was not available at press time.

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