Silver Chips Online

Girls' varsity volleyball loses in first round of playoffs

Energy drain in second set causes loss to Magruder

By Valerie Hu, Online News Editor
November 9, 2010
COLONEL ZADOK MAGRUDER GYMNASIUM, Nov. 5 -

This away-game story was based on post-game interviews only and not on a first-hand account.

The girls' varsity volleyball team (4 - 10) lost to the Magruder Colonels (11 - 3) on Friday in the first round of Division 4A West playoffs. Because playoffs are a single elimination tournament, Blair ended the season without a chance at making it to the finals. After a loss in the first set, the Blazers were unable to restore their confidence, and the Colonels won the match by a score of 25 - 20, 25 - 7, 25 13.

Many of the Colonels are more experienced competitors than the Blazers, which automatically gave them an advantage. According to Blair head coach Christopher Klein, despite a few missed serves, Magruder played consistently well and varied their attack. "Magruder's depth and experience was what carried the day for them," Klein said. "When we started to shut down their primary weapons, they had other players step up and make key plays." Though Blair played well offensively and defensively, the team's effort was insufficient in outscoring the Colonels in the final sets of the game.

The second set contributed most heavily to Blair's loss. After almost winning the first set, the Lady Blazers lost confidence, communicated minimally and moved passively, hurting their performance. "There were a lot of moments where two people just looked at each other, or someone called the ball late, or not at all, and it just dropped," junior captain Nika Lilley said. "It seriously took a toll on us points-wise." Blair's weak serve-receive also played a part in the second set loss.

Despite the overall loss, the Blazers played well in the first set. With consistent serves from freshman outside hitter Dominique Pope and aggressive defense from sophomore libero Linda Kang, Blair was able to hold a five-point lead in the beginning of the first game. Senior middle hitter Anna Ferrario and sophomore middle hitter Jordyn Schroeder continuously blocked the Colonels' hits. "We were consistent and aggressive and really put up a fight," sophomore captain Kathlyn Skolnik said. Lilley and Skolnik paced the offensive, making powerful kills that allowed the Blazers to shut down the Colonels' strategy.

Blair was also able to capitalize on Magruder's serving errors; but the Colonels reacted quickly play after play, eventually winning the set. Klein believed that if the Blazers had won the first set, Blair may have been able to win the game. "[The loss] really hurt our confidence," he said. "I really believe that if we had taken the first set, things could have turned out differently."

After a loss in the second set, the Lady Blazers were able to recover slightly in the third, but not enough to pull out a win. While the Colonels' offense stayed strong, the Blazers responded to the forceful attacks with scrappy digs and defensive court coverage. Blair tried their best to block, but Kang and others on defense contributed to the game most significantly by hustling to the ball and setting platforms for the ball to rebound. When the Blazers were able to pick the ball up off the ground, they made strategic plays and were able to score.

Although the Blazers are out of the playoffs, Klein was impressed by the team's performance in this game and the overall season. "We had a tough time bouncing back once our confidence was shaken," Klein said. "But I think this game really showed that we can hang with the best teams in the county."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/10420