Despite "sloppy play,” boys' volleyball triumphs over Seneca Valley
APRIL 12, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM--
Blair's boys' volleyball team has long been one of its strongest spring teams, and this year is no exception. Since the season started in March, the Blazers have gone 4-0 and won all of its games in three straight sets. They defeated Seneca Valley's Screaming Eagles 25-22, 25-15 and 25-17, adding a fifth win to their season.
Both teams began the first match of the night on shaky ground, trading possession of the ball after only one or two points and littering their game with easily avoidable but devastating errors. The Blazers had trouble receiving Seneca Valley's serves, which made it difficult for Blair's setters, senior Paul Wong and sophomore Tim Lee, to accurately set up plays: Although the Blazers were able to slam 10 kills to the Eagles' side of the court, they also sent seven hits into the net or out of bounds. Two more Blair hits were rejected by the Eagles' blockers, and several more overpassed balls were immediately killed by the Eagles as soon as they crossed the plane. These errors gave Seneca Valley 11 of its twelve points, greatly dragging out the match's length.
Thankfully for the Blazers, however, they were not the only team to fumble; Seneca Valley made numerous errors as well, including four netted plays, four missed serves and four overpasses that were immediately shot down by the Blazers. Furthermore, the Eagles' hitting power was not as strong or versatile as that of the Blazers, and though it took the Blazers several rallies to adjust to Seneca Valley's strong block, Blair was just able to hang onto a three-point lead that would ultimately give it the match.
While both Blair and Seneca Valley had struggled equally in the first match, the Blazers began to clean up their game in the second while the Eagles, if anything, seemed to deteriorate. The second match was largely defined by Seneca Valley's mistakes, with six missed serves and five carries alone giving Blair over 40 percent of its points for the match. While the Blazers also handed Seneca Valley nine free points from hitting and serving errors, sophomore Jay Chang led them on a nine-point serving run midway through the match. Chang scored four of the match's eight Blair aces, an unusually high number that gave Blair a further lead and virtually ensured them of victory by the time his serve was over.
The Eagles pulled back together for the third match, serving up a seven-point run to compensate for Blair's early 8-4 lead. Wong led the Blazers back into action with a six-point run of his own, however, and they never looked back after regaining the upper hand. The Blazers put three aces and seven kills on the scoreboard, and Seneca Valley's 10 missed hits and two missed serves gave Blair another 12 points. Even though the Eagles stepped up their front-row defense and rejected a game-high total of five Blair hits and overpasses, their scrappy play and solid block could not quite compensate for its offensive miscalculations and Blair's stronger hitters. Sophomore Maxim Wolf ended the match with a swift, perfect tip straight into the center of the Eagle's defensive hole, allowing Blair to take its fifth straight victory of the season.
Despite Blair's triumph, coach JJ Rathnam felt that his team could have played much better against Seneca Valley, putting away the matches with far more speed and power. "It was really sloppy," he said of the game. "We were mentally not there…There's no real excuse; we were just slow on the court."
However, Rathnam added that he is glad that the Blazers were able to take the victory despite their inconsistent playing, a view that is shared by senior co-captain James Lee. "We did really badly," Lee said, "but we're still one of the few teams that can say that and still go 3-0. As long as we pull through when it's 26-24, it's fine."
The Blazers' next game will occur at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 14 at Quince Orchard.
Kristina Yang. Kristina Yang is 1/10 of the Blair girls' volleyball team. When not on the court, she most likely to be running away from Magnet math homework, trying to pay off her three speeding/redlight tickets, or feeding her bubble tea addiction. She would also like to ... More »