Blazers fall short in five game battle
The Blair coed volleyball team (2-7) lost a hard-fought game against the Gaithersburg Trojans (9-1) Monday night, 15-25, 16-25, 25-17, 26-24, 10-15. Coming back from two straight losses, the Blazers pushed the Trojans into five sets.
The team had a rocky start, allowing the Trojans to dominate them in the first set. The Trojans won the second set, though Blair's playing improved, especially in several impressive rallies towards the end of the set. In the third set, Blair turned the tide with a score victory. The fourth set brought a close victory, made tense by Gaithersburg tying the score 24-24 before Blair scored two more points for the win. The fifth set was more of a struggle for the Blazers, who found it difficult to overcome the Trojans' superb hitting.
Blair's quality of play increased steadily as the game went on, and the team had to adjust to a new rotation as a result of the return of junior co-captain Nika Lilley, who had been out for five weeks due to injury. The team still enjoyed the game, she said.
"I had a lot of fun,” Lilley said. "We had some really brilliant moments with really good plays by everybody, really good blocks, crazy good hits and passes, but there were times when we struggled,” she said. Lilley added that although the team's play was inconsistent, "When we were good, we were really pretty good.”
Senior co-captain Victor Ekunseitan agreed. "We need to play with that same intensity for the entire game,” he said. Ekunseitan also said that Blair knew that Gaithersburg would be a tough opponent. "We knew what we were getting into,” he said.
Still, Lilley added, the team's rallying after the losses in the first two sets was important. "Everyone made mistakes, but they brushed them off like they should and kept playing,” she said.
The team still has things to improve in order to win these closer games, Ekunseitan said. "We need to work on our blocking and our passing,” he said. "We could have beaten this team; we should have beaten them.” Ekunseitan also pointed to an intensity issue as the reason for the team's spotty performance earlier in the game, a problem that he said is not new for the team. "It's happened to us in at least five games,” he said. "We need to start hard and finish hard.”
Lilley added that some of the errors Blair made in the game were due to the changes in the rotation caused by her return, especially in the first half. "In the first half, people were confused about the subs, and we got called out of rotation and lost points for that, but when we got into it and used to it, we settled down and played better,” she said. "Then we got on a roll.”
Ekunseitan added that there was some unsportsmanlike conduct on the part of the Trojans. "They were trying to aggravate us,” he said. "We need to learn to stay calm.” Still, according to Lilley, she was happy with the game despite the score. "I had a ridiculous amount of fun,” she said. "And as long as we played well, that's what matters.”
Alison Kronstadt. Alison Kronstadt is happiest when she's making you laugh, so tell her her stories are funny or she'll cry. She has a lot of opinions and hopes you like to read them. She wrote her first bio when she was an awkward little junior and ... More »