Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee: Maurice Torres '09

Orange Lutheran alumnus Maurice Torres ’09 grew up around volleyball, but he didn’t begin playing the sport until his freshman year in high school.


His later start on the court didn’t slow him down, and after transferring to OLu as a junior, Torres dominated his high school career as a Lancer, went on to play collegiate volleyball for Pepperdine University and had nearly a decade-long professional career for a number of teams across the globe.


In recognition of his achievements in volleyball at OLu and beyond, Torres will be honored this summer as one of 11 inductees in the Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame Class of 2023.


The son of two deaf parents, Torres’ mother played volleyball in the Deaflympics, and his father coached volleyball for the California School of the Deaf in Riverside. He also had two older sisters who played the sport.


But the Puerto Rico native grew up playing soccer and basketball. At his first high school, Riverside Poly, Torres was on the freshman basketball team with OLu alum Brad Moore ’09, who invited his teammate to try club volleyball. He showed natural talent and connected with the sport immediately.


“I just was so motivated,” said Torres. “There was something about jumping and hitting a ball as hard as you could and scoring points that way. It was enthralling. It brought me in, from the second that I played it. I had grown up around it, so I knew about it a little bit, but I got extra excited about it my first year playing.”


While in club volleyball with Moore, the pair played alongside teammates Connor Mills and Brett Pickens, both of whom attended OLu. Torres and Moore transferred and became Lancers as juniors, joining a powerhouse team that was ranked #5 in the nation at the start of their senior year.

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Attending OLu didn’t come without sacrifice for Torres. Each morning he woke up at 4:30am to catch the Metrolink from Riverside to Orange County. On some days, OLu staff would pick him and his younger sister up from the train station to get them to school on time. While his high school path may have been different than most, there was no doubt in his mind that it was worth it.


“I had a little bit of a different experience,” said Torres. “But I knew a little bit less sleep was the sacrifice I had to make to set myself up for the future. I had a great experience at Orange Lutheran. I had a great core group of friends and people and even staff that knew about our situation and were more than happy to help us out and welcome us.”


During Torres’ senior season, the Lancers were Trinity League co-champs and the outside hitter was Trinity League Co-MVP. He was a two-time All-Trinity League selection and an All-CIF honoree his senior year. He was also named to Volleyball Magazine’s “Fab 50”. Not one to focus on his individual success, he credits the team environment, led by former OLu boys volleyball head coach Marc Laulhere, for providing the right environment for his skill set.

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“None of it would have been possible without Coach Laulhere bringing us all in and making us not just a team, but more like a family, where we could rely on each other during the games and outside [the games],” said Torres. “The fact that we were a cohesive group really, really helped. Coach L helped develop us and turn us into something that we weren't originally.”


Torres’ success on the court led to college scholarship offers from several of the then top men’s volleyball programs in the country. He chose Pepperdine coached by one of the most successful coaches in the history of the sport, former U.S. Men’s National Team coach Marv Dunphy.


While at Pepperdine, Torres made his way into several top 10 statistical categories for the school, including being one of just seven Waves in program history to reach both 1,300 kills and 500 digs. It was Dunphy who planted the seed of continuing after college to play volleyball professionally.


“He (Dunphy) mentored with the famous John Wooden, so he had that mentality and he taught that and instilled that in me,” said Torres. “He said, ‘Maurice you really have an opportunity to do this at the next level.’ And it wasn't until he said it that I actually felt like it was a possibility.”


In the spring of 2013, after he graduated from Pepperdine with a bachelor’s degree in public relations, Torres signed his first professional contract to play in Italy. For the next nine years, he played for teams in not only Italy, but also in France, Poland, Japan and Turkey. Additionally, he has been a member of the Puerto Rican national team since 2014 and has played in a number of international tournaments, including the Men’s Pan-American Volleyball Cup and the Central American and Caribbean Games.


Torres credits his time at OLu under Coach Laulhere for helping to prepare him not only for the rigors of college volleyball, but for the discipline needed at the professional level.


“I learned a lot about time management, and I realized how important that is at a young age,” said Torres. “And Orange Lutheran really helped me prepare the academic side in terms of teaching me how to properly study and getting me prepared for college. Being an athlete at a high level, it's about learning how to compartmentalize each part of your life, and Orange Lutheran really helped me do that.”


In May 2022, Torres retired from playing volleyball professionally. While he loved the pro experience, being away from his family for nine to 11 months at a time took a toll. But he is grateful for the opportunity to have played at an elite level.


“I like to say I don't wish it upon anybody, but I wish it upon those who really want it,” said Torres. “It was some of the best years of my life. I got to travel the world and do what I love, which was volleyball…but I didn't really get to see my family, which is difficult. I'm glad I was able to do it for so long because a lot of people don’t. It's been such a blessing.”


Torres now resides in Pasadena with his wife of 12 years and their two-year old son. With a longtime interest in real estate, he has stepped into a new role as a realtor serving the Orange County, LA and Riverside areas. He is also relishing his time as a “boy dad”.


Humbled by his induction into the Orange Lutheran Athletics Hall of Fame, Torres is honored to be in the 2023 class alongside other standouts from the same time period. Although he only attended OLu for two years, he is grateful for every minute he spent as a Lancer.


“It's such an honor to be involved in not only in the Orange Lutheran Hall of Fame, but in this quality of a class,” said Torres. “It truly is an honor to be even considered, especially because…I'm a two-year OLu alum. It makes me feel like the decision to go to Orange Lutheran and dedicate the time, energy and sacrifice was really worth it.”

Topics from this blog: Athletics Alumni Stories