Boys' volleyball cruises past Damascus in three sets
APRIL 5, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM--
Although Blair's varsity boys' volleyball team had not played together for 10 days, it came into its first post-spring break match with confidence. After all, Blair had scored an easy victory against Damascus during the 2004 season on the Hornets' turf; they repeated the performance again this year in front of a boisterous home crowd. The Blazers defeated Damascus 25-11, 25-18 and 25-17 in three straight sets, upping their seasonal record to 3-0.
Although Blair entered the match as the heavy favorite, it did not immediately live up to its reputation. The Blazers spiked three of the first four points out of bounds, letting the fourth drop to the ground after Damascus sent a free ball just before the ten-foot line. It took a 4-0 Damascus lead to jolt the Blair awake and back into their usual form, and after a missed Hornet hit gave it the serve, the Blazers finally picked up the intensity.
Senior Kevin Kahn served the Blazers to a six-point run, and although Damascus finally edged in a kill at 6-4, senior co-captain James Lee dashed the Hornets' hopes of recovery with a 10-point serving streak that included two aces. Although Damascus fought back with several good rallies, Blair's attackers proved too strong for their defense, as the Blazers slammed nine kills into Hornet territory. Blair also led on the serving front, scoring four aces and providing an interesting contrast to Damascus, which gained possession of the serve seven times throughout the match--and missed its first serve on three of those occasions. After a Damascus floater sailed straight into the net, in fact, Kahn immediately scored an ace, ending the match 25-11 in Blair's favor.
Damascus began adjusting to Blair's hitting prowess in the second match, however; though they still allowed twelve kills past their defense, the Hornets played a much more scrappy game and rejected the Blazers' attempts to score any more long runs. Rallies became longer, and the score rose to 16-15 before the Blazers finally broke away with a four-point run. A few more hits from Lee and senior Jansen Sheng--who led the Blazers' offense from the outside with four and three kills, respectively--only widened Blair's lead, and Damascus sealed its own fate once again by serving into the net with the score at 24-18 in Blair's favor.
While the Blazers played well in the second match, their intensity levels seemed to be flagging as they stepped on the court for the final match of the night. Although the Blazers showed more consistency and certain bursts of energy, including a five-point streak that included two straight aces by senior co-captain Paul Wong and three strong kills, most of the match saw the two teams exchanging possession and unable to score more than one or two points in succession.
But although the points cumulated slowly, the third match was in fact the statistically most successful of the night; the Blazers scored three aces and 13 kills, including four each from Lee and Wong. In addition, while the Blazers lost six and 11 points to missed hits and serves in the first and second matches, respectively, they gave up only four in the third match to these errors.
Although the Blazers could have given up fewer points against the Hornets, both Lee and Wong feel that the team's performance reflects a more balanced offense and strong defense than in previous matches and seasons. "James is our go-to guy when we need to make the play," Wong said, "but we're spreading it around, using the rest of our hitters and running more plays. We're opening up our options."
The Blazers' next match will occur at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 7 at Wootton.
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 »