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Oct. 16, 2008

Varsity girls’ volleyball dominates Wildcats

by Fran Djoukeng, Online Entertainment and Sports Editor
NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM, Oct. 15 –

In an intense showdown, Blair's varsity volleyball team was able to bump their season record to 6-5, capitalizing on Walter Johnson's shortcomings in serving and inability to match Blair's aggressive plays and domineering defense. The Blazers began limp with the first set, winning 25-18, but launched a surge of energetic efforts to win the last two games 25-13 and 25-15.

With relentless rallies in order to win the game, junior co-captain Elaine Brice was delighted to see her team surpass its potential and perform exceptionally while holding strong leads. "We pulled together to finish strong at the end," Brice said. It was "refreshing to take them in three."

Coach Chris Liang was elated to see his players improve on their technique and keep focus throughout the game. They played "really well" and exhibited "overall great passing."

The Wildcats were able to start with a solid lead of 7-0 with powerful serves and good defense while the Blazers were somewhat unsteady, making careless mistakes. Blair enabled the Wildcats to take a double-digit lead with more net errors and frequently dropped balls. Towards the middle of the set, the Lady Blazers stepped up their game with successful spikes from junior player Katie Hague. As the game neared the end, the Wildcats lost their boldness and became prone to miscommunication and committed net faults, allowing Blair to take the game, 25-18.

Blair's intensity from the end of the first game carried over into the second game. Junior co-captain Sibyl Brown made consistent efforts to block the Wildcats' hits. Blair led the score by double-digit margins in the middle of the set, as the Wildcats succumbed to poor passing and sloppy serves.

As the fight wore on, the Lady Blazers showed great energy and solid team chemistry as they built up the score, with junior Chloe Sheridan providing strength to her team as a backbone and side defender. Numerous out-of-bounds hits plagued the Wildcats and clustered formations stopped them from engaging in hard volleys with the Blazers. Hague hit an acute ace to end the game at 25-13.

The third and final game was a culmination of Walter Johnson's constant errors and lack of cohesion. The Blazers demonstrated great skill in the last set and "played well on free balls," Brown said, which facilitated Blair's attempt to play longer rallies.

Additionally, the tight teamwork allowed them to maintain wide margins in the game while the Wildcats began hitting sporadically over the court. Hague was able to deliver even more aces and fought hard to keep Blair's momentum going, with the score 20-13. Visibly upset, the Wildcat team could not match Blair's energy and submitted to fumbles coupled with net faults. A quick block from senior co-captain Caitlin Ludington ended the game with the score at 25-15.

Everyone was in agreement that their unity and concentration gave them a great victory. "We worked together and we kept up the intensity as a whole team," Brown said.

Liang felt the night was a great indicator of the team's improvement and exactly what his team must do in future games. "They just need to keep up the good work."

The girls' varsity volleyball team plays its next home game on Friday, Oct. 17 against Churchill at 6:30 p.m.



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