For Stagg senior Tom Matonis, volleyball wasn’t even on the radar until his sophomore year. That’s when friends Trevor Crain and Sean Runyon — now the Charger’s top two players — convinced the 6-foot-4 Matonis to come to tryouts.
“It was like, ‘Hey, you’re tall, come out and play,’” Matonis said. “I really didn’t know anything about it.”
Matonis proved to be a diligent student. He leads Stagg in blocking and added to his total with four Tuesday night against visiting Shepard in a 25-12, 25-11 victory.
“I wasn’t expecting to play much my sophomore year, but our middle got injured and I started the whole season,” Matonis said. “I fell in love with it right away. I play all through the summer now.”
Crain posted six kills, Runyon had nine digs and Nick Stanek 20 assists for the Chargers (7-5). Christian Mireles helped build a wall alongside Matonis with five blocks.
“This was probably one of Tom’s best games for blocking,” Stagg coach Lauren Royer said. “We’ve been working a lot on our blocks in practice. We’ve been getting touches but not always putting it straight down.”
Huessein Al-Rashdan dealt eight assists for Shepard (2-10), which struggled with Stagg's height at the net. Steve Szajek contributed three blocks and Ivan Magana two kills.
“We’re starting from the ground up right now,” Shepard first-year head coach Dustin Cochrane said. “We’re really trying to build our team as a whole. We have lots of individual pieces that are good, but working together as a team is something we’re trying to grow.”
With the first set tied at 4-4, Runyon caught Shepard in a bad rotation and ripped off nine straight service points. The second set saw a similar stretch for Stagg, with Crain sparking an 8-0 run with two kills.