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Oct. 18, 2008

Lady Blazers bend to Bulldogs backlash

by Fran Djoukeng, Online Entertainment and Sports Editor
NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM, Oct. 17 -

Waging a hard battle against Winston Churchill, the girls' varsity volleyball team (6-6) ultimately lost by narrow margins as their momentum undulated. In four tense matches, the Lady Blazers could not pull out victories though they managed to keep games close with the final scores at 21-25, 25-16, 23-25 and 17-25.

Upset and saddened at such a close loss, the team agreed that their performance was good and they put forth great effort. "Overall, we played really well," senior co-captain Caitlin Ludington said.

Junior co-captain Elaine Brice was also proud of her team's endeavor. "We fought really hard, but we couldn't finish the game like we wanted to."

In the first game of the night, Blair and Churchill both focused on defense by playing many back-and-forth volleys next to the net. The Blazers were determined to score, serving aces and providing good blocks. However, Churchill maintained a lead as the Blazer miscommunication led to dropped balls. Juniors Kaiti Hague assisted the team's score by spiking strong and Ludington was ably- prepared at the net with steady blocks.

Technical fouls and an uncooperative coach from Churchill led to several halts in the game as some players hashed it out with the referees. The interruptions to the game coupled with weak passing allowed Churchill to capture the first game, 25-21.

The Lady Blazers started off the second game with a strong 6-0 lead as Churchill hit frequent out-of-bound balls. While the Bulldogs were increasingly frustrated, the Blazers stayed aggressive. "Everyone was playing their hardest," junior co-captain Sibyl Brown said on this early lead. "We were constantly able to support each other off of good plays."

Junior Chloe Sherdian exhibited solid serves throughout the game and was able to hurt Churchill. Inability to return balls and recurrent net errors from Churchill's side enabled Blair to win the game, 25-16.

A combination of tight teamwork and tension from both teams meant for a close third game, as the Blazers kept up their charge from the second game. Churchill and Blair mimicked each other in technique and shortcomings, displaying net faults. The teams remained even midway through the game at 10-all.

The Blazers were plagued with mishaps later in the game, including missed balls and net faults, which allowed Churchill to take the lead. During a time-out, coach Chris Liang urged his team to perform precise passing and steady their serves.

Performing with this added pressure, the girls beefed up their defense as they set up along the length of the net to be prepared for Churchill's plays. Still, Blair succumbed to repeated fumbles and some collisions over receiving balls. In the end, a series of sloppy serves from the Blazers gave the win to the Bulldogs at 25-23.

In the fourth and final game, the teams brought increased intensity, maintaining close margins as the game started. Churchill came ready with fixed plays, easily engaging in longer rallies as Blair tried to adjust to their solid positions. Although the Blazers became prone to miscommunication, Ludington and Brown smacked down balls back onto Churchill's side to keep Blair alive. The Blazers did not effectively cover all areas on the court, however, leaving spots for the Bulldogs to spike the ball. Churchill went on to win the game 25-17 and the match 3-1.

Brice recognized the ability of Churchill to play effective volleys and her own team's weaknesses. "We had bad passing," Brice said. "They were a really tall team and were able to pick up more balls."

Liang noticed similar attributes in Churchill, saying their "consistency" aided them. Liang believes one key technique the team should work on is "better communication."

On the contrary, the players agreed that their own inconsistency in keeping leads hindered them. "We let them gain momentum on runs and runs and bring more intensity, but as they brought the intensity we didn't stop them in time." Ludington said.

The girls' varsity volleyball team plays it's next home game on Monday, Oct. 27 against Kennedy at 6 p.m.



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  • franny's fan (View Email) on October 19, 2008 at 1:37 PM
    This sports article is fantastic. I feel like i'm actually there. Good work Fran
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