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Camarillo boys’ volleyball squad endures setbacks, still has shot to win another league title

Ryan Conte tries to spike the ball.
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Less than a half-hour before its scheduled match against Pacifica on Tuesday, the only communication the Camarillo High boys’ volleyball team had received from head coach Rob Vandermay was via a text.

Vandermay, recovering from sinus surgery and a subsequent serious infection over spring break, had attempted to teach his math class at school earlier that morning. He made it about halfway before feeling unwell and having to return home.

The players received a text from Vandermay saying he would be at the match, although the Scorpions weren’t sure he was going to be able to coach.

It’s been that kind of season for Camarillo. A bad back here, a twisted ankle there, and it seems the Scorpions just can’t get everyone on the same page. Not even the coach has been immune.

“We’ve only had like five practices all season with the entire squad on the court,” Vandermay said.

It’s certainly not the situation Vandermay and the Scorpions wanted as they march toward a showdown with rival Rio Mesa on Tues., May 6 in both teams’ regular-season finale.

Camarillo has won three consecutive outright titles, a Pacific View League record. The Scorpions can win an unprecedented fourth straight title, but they’ll probably have to share it with rival Rio Mesa.

The Spartans rallied from a 2-1 deficit to beat Camarillo in an epic five-game match April 10. That means the best the Scorpions can do is leave the Pacific View League as co-champs if they get by spoiler Oxnard on Tuesday and win at Rio Mesa.

It seems fitting that the Pacific View championship will come down to Camarillo and Rio Mesa for the fifth season in a row. The match takes on even more signifi- cance considering this is Camarillo’s last season in the PVL. The Scorpions are scheduled to leave the league and begin next school year in the newly created Camino League, which will include Moorpark, Royal, Simi Valley and Oak Park for all sports except football.

Before that happens, however, the Scorpions have business to take care of in their current league.

The most troubling injury this season has been the bulging disk setter Ethan Tendler has suffered all season. Tendler, who also plays on the junior varsity basketball team, has missed several matches and practices.

Camarillo runs a 6-2, or two setter, offense. Having two quality setters is a nice problem to have since most programs are lucky to have one.

Unfortunately for the Scorpions, the other setter, junior Matt Yoshimoto, is also the team’s best offensive player and blocker. When Tendler isn’t on the floor to feed Yoshimoto, the offense takes a hit because Yoshimoto needs to set, which takes him out of the offense as a hitter. It’s kind of like if your starting quarterback is also your go-to wide receiver.

Tendler said he’s still recovering and is 85 to 90 percent healthy.

“I should be ready for CIF (playoffs),” he said.

Tendler said his absences have been tough for the team’s offense.

Yoshimoto, the third and last in a string of three brothers to star for Camarillo, was succinct in its impact.

“It stinks,” he said.

Tendler said he expects to be on the court on May 6 against Rio Mesa. He sat out to rest before playing in the first meeting with the Spartans, a match Vandermay said was the best of Tendler’s career.

“Other than the losing, that was why you play sports, for those kinds of matches,” Tendler said.

Tendler would like to see the results reversed in the rematch.

“We want to end on a good note,” he said. “I think we’re going to do it.”

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