Most volleyball teams may say they play for their team and they play to win, but for Marana High School volleyball senior captains Jeff Carranza and Evan Boyack, there’s a lot more to it.
“It’s not all about who gets the most playing time, the most stats or anything like that. It’s just playing as hard as you can for your school and your town,” said Carranza. “In football, I remember my coaches telling us to play for the name on our jersey and just give it all we’ve got. This is where our parents live, our families and our community and that’s who we play for.”
Carranza has been part of the Marana community for many years as he attended Marana Middle School and has been at the high school since his freshmen year. Having never played volleyball, Carranza never really anticipated trying out for the team until his teammates from basketball convinced him to give it a try. One try is all it took.
“I just played it my freshmen year and really liked it,” said Carranza. “And have kept playing it since then.”
For all four years Carranza played the setter position, which he said his coach chose for him because of his quickness on the court. It wasn’t until he reached varsity, his junior year, that he began to take more of a leadership role on the team.
“When I got to varsity, it was more fun because I was able to run whatever I wanted or run different plays or sets,” said Carranza. “You don’t really get the fame as much as the hitters but still it’s cool to get the assists and set everything up for them.”
Alex Ruff, the six-year head coach of the boy’s volleyball team, says that Carranza and his teammate Boyack balance each other out well in terms of leadership on the court.
“They are almost complete opposites,” said Ruff. “They’re both leaders, but Jeff is more of the vocal leader. He’s extremely outgoing and personable, while Evan is more of the quiet, lead by example kind of player. It’s a good dichotomy for the team.”
Boyack, a 6-foot, 2-inch outside hitter for the team, started playing in seventh grade after being encouraged by his older brother Tyler, who made honorable mention for state two years ago.
“I like to be the guy who goes out and gets the big kill so I can lift my teammates up by how I play,” said Boyack. “I think the younger players look up to me by how hard
I work in practice and in the games. I really want them to work as hard as they can so that when I’m gone they’ll be at the top.”
With a strong leadership presence from the seniors, both agree that if they play their best they can compete with any team. What it essentially comes down to is their teamwork and having the same mentality on the court, which they both agree is a strength of their team.
“I think what helps is our togetherness and how we can trust each other on the court.” said Boyack.
The team’s record is 6-3, and they will play their next game away against Tucson Magnet High School on April 16.