Blazers take easy win in three sets
MARCH 25, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM–
After suffering a heartbreaking fifth set loss against Sherwood Thursday, the boys' volleyball team rallied tonight to dominante the Paint Branch Panthers, defeating them in straight sets and improving their record 2-1.
Coach Sang Ahn was once again not present at today's game, and the boys' team suffered another setback with starter junior Tim He's stress fracture injury, an injury that may affect the rest of their season. Despite these problems, the boys had last year's county championship coach JJ Rathnam and his helpful commentary to guide them through the easy game.
In addition to consistent hits, good passing and junior Max Wolf's clean kills during the match, the boys team saw some less experienced players help out off the bench. With the help of junior Allen Zhang's passing, senior Rohit Dewan was able to smash the ball at will. Although the score indicates that Blair played a superior game, sloppiness and complacency allowed the Panthers to gain a few points before junior co-captain Tim Lee finished off the first match with an ace, ending with a score of 25-9.
The second match began with a 4-0 lead after the Panthers made wild attempts to serve and match the Blazers' strength. They cut the lead to 4-3 off of several Blair miscues, but they wouldn't get any closer than that for the rest of the match. In the middle of the game, Lee served up two clean aces, immediately followed by a quick tip from freshman setter Willy Li to make the score 19-9. Although careless mistakes showed through once more in the second match, the boys finished off the match, 25-11, with a tip from Li.
High-spirited from their second win, the boys began to play carelessly in the first few minutes of the third match. Li and Zhang collided and fell, giving up a lucky point to the Panthers. After getting up, Li realized that his contact had fallen out and was forced to the bench. Yet, even without Li's reliable presence, the boys' showed why they were county champs last year. Dewan, especially, who had not gotten much playing time in the previous two games, had exceptionally strong hits and helped demoralize the Panthers.
At this point, Wolf took advantage of his serve opportunities to exhibit some of the best jump serves that game. Wolf had six jump serves – two of which were aces – that left the Panthers helpless. Zhang also got the chance to practice his jump serves, giving the Blazers an 11-point lead at 16-5. When Lee took his position to serve, it was over. After two aces from Lee and some strong hits, Paint Branch was finished at 25-9, after playing so aggressively that the Panthers couldn't even reach double-digits.
Junior co-captain Jay Chang was pleased with today's game. Along with good performances, Chang saw today's game as a "nice chance for team unity and working on our cooperation."
Lee agreed. "I thought it was a good time to get other people [who normally don't play] involved." Chang also complimented some particularly good contributions from some key players. "[Junior Cyril Lan] was really consistent, and Rohit smacked the ball down a lot; they were really aggressive."
Despite today's easy win, Chang believes that the boys still have room for improvement in their passing and defense. The team next plays at Damascus on Tuesday.
Merlyn Deng. Merlyn (Mer - LEEN) has an unhealthy fixation on Silver Chips Online, the Silver Chips Manifesto, red pens and serial commas. When not editing stories and racking her brain for SCO and its readers, she may be found haunting Blair's hallways or downtown Silver Spring. … More »