Boys' volleyball falls in intense match to Richard Montgomery


March 28, 2003, midnight | By Sherri Geng | 17 years, 10 months ago


MAR 28, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM –

The boys' varsity volleyball team put up a valiant fight against the Richard Montgomery Rockets tonight, losing 15-3, 13-15, 10-15 in a tight three-game struggle. The Blazers' season record now stands at 1-2.

Blair rolled into the first game on a 4-0 advantage, gaining momentum with an ace from sophomore setter Paul Wong and powerful kills from sophomore hitter James Lee. As Richard Montgomery pulled up close from behind, the Blazers stepped up the level of their passing and the quality of their shots. The Rockets soon lost possession at 4-3, where the Blazers surged ahead and left them scoreless for the remainder of the game.

Richard Montgomery came back considerably stronger in the second game, rattling Blair's defense with several consistent serves and hits. A marathon of side-outs followed as Blair retaliated with a power of its own, throwing the Rockets with hard kills by Lee, junior James Gao, and seniors Dan Ku and Kevin Fang. The Blazers matched Richard Montgomery with gritty determination, staging a 7-1 run from 6-11 with renewed vigor to draw one point ahead at 13-12. The comeback was short-lived, however, as Blair fell first on a missed pass and afterwards on a double-contact, leaving Richard Montgomery to cap a close victory.

The third and final game began as a tight struggle over possession, with neither team able to secure a substantial lead in the first several rallies. Battling miscommunication and a flurry of nerves, Blair dropped behind to give the Rockets a 0-7 lead. Numerous strong kills from Lee, Fang, and senior Jeff Jabonete bolstered the score to 4-7, at which point both teams were playing consistently and cohesively, and gripping tightly to each point.

Richard Montgomery built a slow lead to 4-13 after siding out but was thwarted when Lee made a string of powerful hits that brought the Blazers up to 8-13. After relinquishing possession and losing a crucial point to the Rockets at 8-14, Blair held the game at an intense impasse with both teams battling over ball possession. Running broke with no substitutions left, the Blazers managed to pull two last impressive kills, before Richard Montgomery put the game away at 10-15.

The Blazers' remarkably strong performance against the Rockets took the team by surprise, particularly after a disappointing defeat by Kennedy High School earlier in the week. "I was really happy with today's performance," Coach JJ Rathnam remarked. "The team has proven to me that they've got skills."

Rathnam continued by applauding the team's high level of performance, which was due largely in part to strong plays from Lee and Jabonete. "Jeff [Jabonete] neutralized the serves of the biggest hitters on RM," said Rathnam. "And James Lee had an amazing number of kills." The team has also improved considerably on consistency and defense, a testament to the renewed focus on passing in this week's practices.

Despite the loss, both the team and Rathnam were pleased with tonight's performance. "Richard Montgomery is one of the best teams in the county and we played them tough, so I'm happy," said Rathnam.

"We're just a young team, and this is our first game where we really tried hard," added Lee. "We'll improve, and we'll get some wins in the future."



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