Senior Night played out perfectly for Bear River’s Karsten Staples and Justin Rympa, as the two athletes each put on an offensive clinic and the team romped EL Camino in a speedy three set sweep Thursday at Jack R. McCrory Gymnasium.
In addition to Bear River’s firepower, the squad brought out plenty of energy and gave the home crowd much to cheer about, not giving the Eagles a chance of winning their first game of the season. The Bruins dominated all three sets winning easily, 25-12, 25-16, 25-13.
“We definitely did exactly what I wanted,” said Staples, who finished with eight kills to go with four blocks and three aces. “We came out and took care of business and the rest was just fun for us seniors. Our young guys have come a long way in terms of maturity, communication and putting it together on the floor. I’m happy to see every player grow into the sport.”
The Bruins opened the first set a tad out of sync but quickly regrouped and erupted for a 13-4 run, forcing El Camino to call a timeout. The huddle didn’t help the Eagles though as they came out dazed and confused and watched as Bear River’s talent soared far above the net and swat down point after point.
“I definitely enjoyed it a lot,” said Rypma, who also torched the Eagles with eight kills to go with four aces. “It was a bit bittersweet being our last home game. It was a great turn out, just sad it was the last time. I’ve had fun with the learning experience and making great memories.”
In the second set Bear River showed no signs up easing up, as the squad opened on a 10-3 run. El Camino rallied to within three points, but the Bruins kicked the offense back up a notch to pull away in a hurry. Hard smashes weren’t the only thing that froze the Eagles, but also well-placed serves. The Bruins served up 11 aces and defensively rose up with 15 blocks.
“It was a good win for the crowd,” said Bear River head coach Lance Mansuetti. “It’s rewarding for the guys to showcase their talents. It was entertaining.”
The showcase continued into the third set where Bear River led wire to wire, building a 10-2 lead early and poured it on until the Eagles flew the coup. The Bruins were able to get everyone involved largely thanks to junior Nick Mansuetti, who tossed up a game-high 30 assists and also batted four blocks. Junior Travis Whitehead finished with seven kills and four aces and Noah Hedenland added four blocks defensively in the cruise to victory.
As for Bear River’s stellar senior duo, Staples will be attending Concordia University in Irvine on an athletic scholarship for his volleyball talent while he pursues a degree in sports management, and Rypma will be attending Chapman University in Orange where he will study film production and says he will hit the sand to play volleyball with friends at the beach.
“(Staples and Rypma) have been a fun couple guys to coach,” added Mansuetti. “I’ve coached them since seventh grade at Magnolia. Both have been stars since then. Both moved up to varsity as sophomores and have always been our main weapons in their age group.”
Bear River (13-13, 4-9 Capital Athletic League) has two more road games before its season comes to a close, with the first coming Tuesday at Antelope.
Brian Shepard is a freelance sports writer who contributes to The Union regularly.