New boys volleyball coach brings fresh energy


By Roman Treuthart

Born in Puerto Rico, but raised in Chicago, Pablo Lopez started playing volleyball when he was 12 years old. He would go with his sister to her practices, and “before you knew it, I was playing volleyball non-stop,” Lopez said.

He is now the Boys Varsity Volleyball head coach at one of the biggest high schools in the United States.

Lopez began coaching high school volleyball at Von Steuben in Chicago, after the athletic director hired him to bring them a city championship, Lopez said. After he brought back-to-back city championships in 2015 and 2016, he saw an opening for head coach at Lane.

“I’ve always looked at Lane Tech from afar, wishing I could coach [there],” Lopez said. The height of the players and their talent drew him towards Lane, he said. Leaving a very talented Von Steuben team was difficult for Lopez, but he is looking forward and believes he made the right choice.

“Hopefully I can get Lane ready to beat [Von Steuben],” Lopez said.

The team is now 6-3 after playing in the Plainfield North Invitational tournament on March 24 and 25. After losing the first set to Westinghouse 27-25 on March 30, Lane came back and won the match in three sets, with scores of 25-18, 25-19.

The team finished with a 12-8 record last year, and made it to the regional finals in the state playoffs. As the team heads into this season, Lopez said the team goal is to win a city championship. This could prove to be difficult, as the team is young. The varsity team consists of seven juniors and six seniors.

Senior Jacob Clohisy, who played on varsity last season, said he believes this is one of the team’s biggest challenges.

“We are a young team with a new coach, which means a new system,” Clohisy said.

Despite these obstacles, Clohisy said there has already been a positive change in the team within the first week of practice.

“We’re actually having fun playing volleyball — it’s not just all about winning,” Clohisy said.

Randy Aucapina, who played on varsity last year and is on the team this year, agreed. “Everyone is excited and pumped to get on the court and play,” Aucapina said.

One of Lopez’s mottos is “Volleyball is a game of mistakes, you have to have short term memory. Make your mistake, learn from it, and move on.”