Boys' volleyball triumphs in three-match game
APR. 14, SENECA VALLEY—
After nearly two weeks off the court, the boys' volleyball team returned to action in a game against Seneca Valley, defeating the Screaming Eagles 25-22, 27-25 and 25-16 in three lively matches and boosting its record to 4-1.
The boys began the night with a solid start, as senior Tim Yang served two consecutive aces and junior James Lee scored the night's first kill to give Blair a 3-0 lead. However, the boys soon found themselves overwhelmed by Seneca Valley's strong blocking, which immediately evened the score by rejecting Blazer attacks from both the outside and the middle. Though the Blazers eventually learned to hit around the block, the Eagles' blockers would prove to be a formidable force throughout the entire game, shutting down seven Blair hits in the first match alone.
Despite the strength of Seneca Valley's blockers, the Blazers were able to cling to the lead thanks to both superior hitting and defense. Junior outside hitters James Lee, Randy Li and Paul Wong as well as senior middle hitters James Gao and Bailey Zhang all made major contributions to Blair's offensive squad, while Yang and junior Kevin Kahn provided flexible and consistent defensive coverage. However, neither team went on any major runs, and the score stayed fairly close up to the last few points, when a missed Seneca Valley serve and two kills from Lee combined to give Blair a 25-22 victory.
The Blazers began the next set with another 3-0 lead, thanks to kills by Lee and Zhang as well as Yang's strong serves, but their fortune took a turn for the worse on the next play. Seneca Valley slammed down five Blair overpasses and blocked two more hits down to the Blazers' side of the court, boosting the score to 3-7 before Zhang finally scored a kill. Though the Blazers demonstrated strong hitting and serving after regaining possession, they found it difficult to even out the scoreboard after losing the lead. The Eagles were able to block several more Blair hits, and they also capitalized on the overly deep positions of Blair's defensive wings to nail several short tips. By the end of several tense rallies, the two teams were tied at 25, and victory seemed uncertain; however, Gao and Yang both managed to land the ball on the Eagles' side, scoring two more points for a harrowing 27-25 win.
After this second victory, the Blazers seemed to focus better as a team, allowing Seneca Valley far fewer points and cutting down sharply on the number of Blair errors. The Blazers scored four four-point runs, including three aces by Lee and two kills by Gao. While in the front row, Yang also took advantage of the other team's defensive gaps to tip three balls to the floor, further increasing Blair's lead. Though the Blazers were still plagued by the Eagles' blockers, Li noted that the team quickly learned to "do what we had to do to get the ball around them."
"Our defense really picked up too," Yang adds, lauding the back row players for excellent adaptation despite the absence of senior defensive anchor Sam Wen, who was away on a college tour. Thanks to the combination of these factors, the Blazers were able to win the last match with little difficulty, walking away with a 25-16 victory despite the substitution of several reserve players.
"It's characteristic of us to start rusty," Li said, explaining the reason for the team's shaky performance in the first set. "But once we get past that, we're a better team than everyone we're going to play from now until county finals. We're a good team this year, and I expect great things from us."
The Blazers' next game will be at home on Apr. 19 against the Quince Orchard Cougars.
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 »