Blair slides by Walter Johnson in three close sets
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM – April 9
The boys' volleyball team (4 - 0) put up a fight against the Walter Johnson Wildcats (2 - 1), but pulled together to secure the win in straight sets, 25-18, 25-18 and 25-22. The Blazers inched ahead in a tight game, with the Wildcats at their heels, while initial trouble with communication on the court set back the Blazers' performance.
All three sets followed the same pattern. The Blazers struggled to lead early on, but were always able to recover from the deficit after a short adjustment period. "We got into some tight spots, but we did a good job of pulling together," senior co-captain Pin-Jo Ko said. As each set progressed, the Blazers grew more confident and lessened the intensity. Despite these errors, Blair ended the game as victors due to strong serving and competent defense.
The Blazers had an especially shaky start in the third set. The Wildcats served the ball powerfully and the Blazers were unable to return. The tide changed when freshman outside hitter Ricci Huang spiked the ball, bringing the score to 5 - 4 at the Blazers' advantage. Blair enjoyed keeping their lead as both teams racked up more points, until Walter Johnson won a point after a long series of continuous volleys midway through the set, bringing the score to 21 - 19. The Wildcats competently attack-blocked the spikes of sophomore co-captain Andy Zhang and junior co-captain Robert Huang. The Blazers eventually pulled through, as senior middle hitter Vikas Mendhiratta ended the final set powerfully with his sixth kill of the season.
The first set also displayed Blair's difficulties on the court. Miscommunication affected the team, which was disorganized because players were not calling out names for returns. "I guess we were just getting into the game," Zhang said. "We just had to adjust." A series of good serves from Robert Huang brought the score from 11 - 9 to 17 - 12. This set the gears in motion for a Blazer victory.
Zhang felt the game went well, though he believed some areas need improvement. "We've been working on hitting the ball," he said. "I think we did that well and got a lot of kills." The team had a total of 27 kills.
Ko said the lack of practice during spring break served as a potential obstacle that didn't majorly affect the team. "We had...barely any practices and then had a game on Wednesday. Still, we came out fresh and full of energy," he said.
The boys' volleyball team plays their next home game on April 16 against Einstein at 5:15 p.m.
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