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Young Wolverines clinch fourth straight division crown

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If you have some spare time on your hands — and you happen to be a volleyball fan — you might want to check out the Bronx Science Wolverines. It certainly won’t take up much of your time, and the skill level is top-notch.

Take, for example, the Wolverines’ latest outing last week when they took on Lehman. It took the Wolverines just 17 minutes to complete their first set, 25-12, victory. Even less in the second set, which they won 25-10. That’s 33 combined minutes, or about 75 cents at your local parking meter.

Only none of this was expected from Science this season. With a roster full of freshmen and sophomores, this was supposed to be the season when the mighty Wolverines — winners of the past three Bronx A Division regular-season titles — were supposed to be vanquished in a rebuilding season. Only someone forgot to tell the six freshmen, six sophomores and two juniors on the Wolverines’ roster it was time to abdicate their throne.

With the win over Lehman, the Wolverines captured their fourth straight division crown, have still not lost a regular-season match in three-plus seasons (and counting), and are still on course for a deep run in the upcoming Public School Athletic League postseason tournament.

“Our goal is to win by as much as possible, do it as quickly as possible, and just do the best that we can,” junior co-captain Darya Lollos said. “We always make a point to play as well as we can regardless of what kind of team we’re playing.”

Science started off a little slow in the first set against Lehman when it trailed 4-3. But that’s when the Wolverines went on a 16-2 run to take a 19-6 lead in the first set. With Skilins pulling his starters, Science finished the first set with five substitutes and just one starter, co-captain Amanda Maeglin, in the lineup.

Little changed in the second set when Science used a 12-4 run to break an early 4-4 tie before cruising to yet another stress-free win to go to 9-0 on the season. In the process, Skilins used every member of his roster as he looks to build depth and experience for his young team.

“I think it’s important to play everybody and give all these kids experience,” Skilins said. “We’re building for the future, so it’s really important that everyone on the team knows their role.”

Not much was expected from a team with so much youth this season. But Darya thought early on this team could be special.

“I’m not really surprised because we’ve always had a strong program, and I knew there were a lot of girls who were coming into the program who were strong players,” said Darya, who had four service points and two aces in the win over Lehman. “This year coach was worried that we weren’t going to do well, but Amanda and I were really wanting to keep up the program where we’ve had it for the past few years. And I think we’re succeeding so far.”

Sophomore Anya Lollos, the younger of the Lollos sisters, said the team as it is now is in much better shape than it was when preseason practice started when there might have been some internal friction on the team.

“There’s a really good team dynamic now,” said Anya, who had seven service points and eight kills against Lehman. “I came in a little bit worried when I saw how young the team was and that there was some separation. In the beginning of the season, there were kind of groups on the team, some division. But now I think we’re a lot more bonded as a team, and now we have a lot of fun playing together and are really supportive of each other.”

The Wolverines have not only not lost a regular-season game this season, they have yet to lose a single set. But surprisingly that is not a topic of conversation among the team.

“We don’t really talk about the fact that we’re undefeated,” Anya said. “But we come in to every game and expect to win every game.”

With just three games remaining in the regular season before the playoffs — and with the intense academic workload the Science athletes endure on a daily basis — Skilins said perhaps the best part of seeing his team succeed is watching them commemorate their victories.

“I love it when they celebrate and get happy when they score a point,” Skilins said. “They all do an outstanding job in the classroom, so this is their time to come out and have some fun, show some emotion, and have a great time.”

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