Outnumbered, Blair drops third straight match
OCT. 6, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM--
Blair's gym attained an almost dream-like quality this afternoon as Blair's varsity girls' volleyball team lost for the third time in three matches, in straight sets (25-13, 25-19, 25-17) to the Wootton Patriots. The squeaking of shoes against the gym floor, the erratic cheers of the scattered fans, the organized cheers of the Patriots after each ace – all of it felt muted, subdued. The Blazers fell to 1-6, and were left once again to contemplate what turn of events had led them to defeat.
Blair started off strong, winning the first three points on the back of freshman Julie Zhu's powerful service. The tides quickly shifted, though, and after the ball fell between three Blazers to give Wootton their first point and the serve, the Patriots rattled off seven straight points to bring the score to 8-3. After Wootton scored their tenth point, the Blazers never pulled closer than to within seven, losing the final point on an errant shot to give the Patriots a 25-13 game one win.
Blair started the second game in a similar fashion to the first, with Wootton's initial serve sailing wide for a Blair point. The Blazers then pulled to a 4-2 lead on Wootton miscues (a net reach and a return that hit the net). The teams were even at 6-6 when Wootton again began to pull away, winning their seventh point on a shot that barely made it over the net and then several more points due to Blair's inability to effectively communicate. By the time senior Kristina Yang finally hit a blistering kill shot to win back service for the Blazers, the Patriots were up by five, 12-7, having strung together six straight points. Blair made a game of it though, with Zhu serving two straight aces to bring the score to 14-13 in favor of Wootton. The Patriots won the next point on a long rally that saw the ball cross the net four different times, but Blair pulled to 15-15 on a pretty touch shot by Haweya Farah that bounced at the feet of a frustrated Wootton team. But Wootton won the next two points, the second on an ace, and the Blazers couldn't battle back despite excellent service by senior Thaissa Souza and a pinpoint kill shot by sophomore Felicia Olawuni at 22-16. They dropped the second game by a score of 25-19.
Continuing their trend, Blair won the first point of game three on a netted kill attempt by Wootton. However, the Patriots quickly regained the lead, pulling to 8-1 before senior Agathe Nyake pushed a one-handed shot just past Wootton's front line. Wootton displayed particularly strong service during this game, serving eight straight unreturned shots to put them up 20-7. The Blazers streaked right back, with senior Yicong Liu serving up six consecutive points, but Wootton maintained focus and won the game, 25-17.
Despite the fairly routine way in which the Patriots seemed to dispatch the Blazers, they only really outmatched Blair in two key categories: substitutes and communication. Blair had two subs to Wootton's five, and notably absent from Blair's ranks was senior co-captain Kate Selby. Communication was the real downfall of the Blazers, though: while the Wootton players chattered almost constantly and set crisp passes, Blair's side of the floor remained silent almost the entire match. Even when a player called for the ball, the call was sometimes ignored. "We definitely don't talk enough," said senior Thaissa Souza. Despite these shortcomings, Souza said that the team is "much better than the beginning of the year" in terms of hitting, serving, and even the dreaded communication. "We still don't believe we can win, unfortunately," said Souza. "We just gotta fight for every single ball."
Blair's next game is at home against the Walter Johnson Wildcats on Tuesday, Oct. 12 at 7:00 p.m.
Nick Falgout. Nick Falgout was bored one day and decided to change his Chips staff information. And now, for a touching song lyric: "I'm a reasonable man, get off my case Get off my case, get off my case." ~ Radiohead, "Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd … More »