MAR 24, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM –
The boys' varsity volleyball team suffered a disappointing 0-2 defeat to the Kennedy High School Cavaliers on Monday night, in the first home match of the spring season. The Blazers lost 4-15, 6-15, rounding the team's record out at 1-1.
Blair started the first game falling nervously short, plagued with bouts of irregular passing as well as a vulnerable defense. After allowing Kennedy to pull ahead with a 1-7 lead, the Blazers staged a fleeting comeback run to 4-7 with several solid hits. However, they quickly lost possession, and could not recover due to lapses in consistency. A general lack of cohesiveness accounted for the rest of the game, with Blair buried in a tumult of poor passes and missed serves.
A team of frustrated Blazers came back stronger in the second game, staving off defeat with a handful of strong kills from its hitters. Sophomore James Lee, junior James Gao and senior co-captain Daniel Ku all made impressive plays, dealing consistently powerful shots that locked the game into a lengthy stalemate. A tight struggle ensued as the two teams battled back and forth, with intense rallies flinging possession from one side of the court to the other. But halfway through Blazers began suffering damaging bouts of erratic passing, leaving the game for Kennedy to own at a nine point deficit.
Coach Rajesh Rathnam attributed the team's weak performance to a mixture of subpar passing and relative inexperience. "We didn't take care of the most important thing," remarked Rathnam, "and that was the passing. The hitting was good, James [Lee] and Dan [Ku] put it away today. But it just wasn't enough, and we have to focus on passing until we get it right."
Rathnam echoed the dismayed sentiments of Assistant Coach Sean Lee, who admitted that breakdowns in the execution dug the team into its own ditch. "We sided-out just as much as Kennedy did, but passing just became a big problem," said Lee. "The setter couldn't get the ball to the right hitters and in the end it just all crumbled down."
However, he praised the team for its "brief glimpses of excellence," as did Rathnam, who noted that both hitters Ku and Lee performed impressively throughout both games. "Dan Ku was pretty solid, and James Lee's hitting was great," he commented, pleased. "We've got really good hitters, but they're going to go to waste if we can't get them the opportunity to hit."
Due to the loss of several talented graduates, Rathnam was impelled to draw up unfamiliar line-ups. The line-ups produced a detrimental lack of team cohesiveness, which presented itself as a major drawback in the Blazers' game. "You just can't replace experience with practice," Rathnam explained. "As it is a relatively young team, they're just going to have to play through it." He hopes to clean up the players' passing and defensive skills, adding that "we're just going to have to focus on [this] until we get it right."
The Blazers will be facing stiff competition from Richard Montgomery High School on Friday, March 28. "We were just mentally and physically unprepared today," remarked Ku, who was disappointed at the team's loss. But despite tonight's frustrations, the team remains optimistic. "If we do the simple things well," he added, "I think we'll have a great season."
Sherri Geng. Sherri Geng is a senior in the Magnet and SUPER excited for what promises to be another excellent year of Silver Chips! She has insane love for chocolate, sleep, funny people, and her big fat lovable dog Teddy, who is the smartest and most perfect … More »