Boys' volleyball tramples Quince Orchard for fourth straight win
APRIL 19, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM—
After falling to Churchill on March 25, the boys' volleyball team vowed to taste no more defeat for the rest of the season. After triumphing over its next three opponents, the team made good on that promise yet again by trampling Quince Orchard in three sets, defeating the Cougars 25-13, 25-20 and 25-15 to claim its fourth consecutive victory and raise its record to 5-1.
The team began the night with a much stronger lead than it usually musters, capturing four of the first five points with two aces and two kills. "We jumped out to an early lead," junior outside hitter James Lee explained, adding that from that point forward, "we basically controlled the game because they couldn't kill the ball, and we could."
However, though the Blazers' offensive squad was able to triumph over the Cougars, the team's hitting power was less obviously dominant than it has been in recent games. "I was having an off day," senior setter Tim Yang explained, "and I had a tough time finding my hitters." Though the team eventually adjusted to Yang's sets, Blair's diminished hitting power was apparent throughout most of the first two sets. The team killed only 17 hits all night, a far cry from the nearly thirty that it has earned at all of its winning games thus far, and also gave up 16 points on missed hits through all three matches.
The team's most valuable asset of the night was instead the strength of its defensive players, who have improved dramatically since the season first began. "Although we had less kills, we had more ball control," Yang explained. "Our defense was awesome at picking up their balls and getting it to the setter." Led by juniors Kevin Khan and Paul Wong as well as senior Sam Wen, Blair's defensive squad dug up nearly every ball that Quince Orchard sent over the net, providing the crucial first step toward setting up a strong offense. Freshman Jay Chang also played a standout game, adding defensive depth to the team and even scoring the winning kill from the back row during the third match.
After winning the first set through a combination of difficult serves, flexible offense, and well-coordinated coverage—only two Quince Orchard attacks hit the floor on Blair's side of the court—the Blazers started the second set on a much weaker note, as a netted serve and hit combined to put Quince Orchard ahead 2-1. Yang served a four-point run, but much of the rest of the match came point-by-point, with neither side able to maintain a clear lead. Toward the end of the set, however, the Blazers finally surged ahead, capitalizing on two missed Cougar serves to score three kills and one ace, ending the match with a five-point lead at 25-20.
After the uncomfortably close second match, the Blazers returned to the court determined to cut down on their own mistakes and to improve team coordination. Shifting its focus from brute strength to smart spotting, Blair's offense was able to score off several clean tips in addition to two kills each from Lee and senior Terry Li; a succession of strong servers led by Chang, meanwhile, gave the Blazers four aces and two five-point runs for a comfortable 25-15 victory.
According to Wen, the victory was especially satisfying in light of the Cougars' victory over Blair just last season. "We shouldn't have lost to them last year," he said with a grin. "Now, we've come back and corrected that wrong."
The Blazers next game will be home on April 21, when they will host the Magruder Colonels at 7:00 p.m.
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 »