Blazers falter in sloppy match against Quince Orchard Cougars

April 3, 2003, midnight | By Sherri Geng | 17 years, 9 months ago


The boys' varsity volleyball team suffered a disappointing loss to the Quince Orchard Cougars on Thursday night, struggling in two close games, but unable to cap a victory. Sorely lacking in confidence, the Blazers fell 11-15 and 12-15, bringing their season record to 2-3.

The team jumped into the first game on a quick 4-0 advantage, unconsciously knocking holes in the Cougars' defense. But after giving way to several careless mental missteps, the Blazers relinquished their lead in a flurry of sloppy shots and passive plays, trailing behind the Cougars until regaining serve on a carry at 6-9. The team staged a promising run to 10-9 with a handful of solid hits, and managed to grip the game in a brief stalemate before losing possession again at 10-12. Taking advantage of the Blazers' faltering confidence, Quince Orchard pulled ahead four straight points before putting the game away at 15-11.

The Blazers returned hesitant in the second game, relying on mistakes from the opposing court to advance to a 3-0 lead. The team's passive approach quickly backfired, however, as they handed several easy points to the Cougars, and allowing Quince Orchard its own four point run to tie the score at 4-4. After siding out, the Blazers surged ahead to 9-4 with two aces and a string of careless Cougar blunders, but their lead soon tapered off after mounting indecision froze both their offense and defense. At 12-9 with the Cougars trailing three points behind, the Blazers lost possession and gave way to a 3-point losing streak, and an unsuccessful attempt to turn the game around saw the team scoreless for the remainder of the match.

According to Coach JJ Rathnam, the Blazers held their own out on the court. "We're improving, and our side-out game is really good," he said. "The setters had a pretty good game and our passing was almost to the level of the RM game. We played them close [today]." He noted, however, that while Blair was able to secure leads in both games, it was the simple things "like bad habits that need to be broken" that eventually led to their loss. "It's almost like a confidence thing," said Rathnam. "Instead of making positive action, they're going the passive route. They're letting [the ball] drop, letting gravity decide the result."

Senior co-captain Daniel Ku agreed. "I think we played well but made little stupid mistakes," he said. "We have to work on being aware and being ready, and having more discipline."

In the upshot of this match, Rathnam hopes to focus on steady improvement and building team confidence. "Assertiveness, aggressiveness, whatever you want to call it," he remarked. "It's all mental at this point."

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