The Blazers deliver a striking performance in their match against Kennedy
The Blair girls' varsity volleyball team (6-2) played an exceptional match against the Kennedy Cavaliers (2-6), resulting in a victory for the Blazers. The match saw a large variety of players on the court as Coach Klein kept subbing in second-string players; this strategy got the second-string players engaged and showcased their abilities in-game. The Blazers won the match in 3 sets which had the scores of 25-12, 25-13 and 25-19.
Coach Christopher Klein explained his strategy to cycle players as a result of Blair's control of the match." Well, in a game that we can control, I want to make sure all of the players get to play," Coach Klein said. "All of the players got to play a significant time today; I was happy about that."
Coach Klein pointed towards the often present discrepancy between the skills of first-string and second-string players, something which Blair had little trouble with. "Sometimes, there is a skill difference between first-string and second-string and sometimes there is a confidence difference between first string and second string," Coach Klein said. "In both cases I'd say that that gap was diminished and so I was happy with that."
The first set of the match started off with Blair gaining a quick 6 point lead as a result of freshman Maggie Wang's consistent serves. The powerful serves punched through Kennedy's defenses and had their team all jumbled up for part of the set. Once the Cavaliers regained their composure; they did their best to thwart Blair's attacks. Their defense became more dynamic and shut down a few of Blair's more powerful spike attempts. The Blazers refused to be put down though and they soon returned with great kills by senior Leila Habib and freshman Tiffany Mao. The set once again ended with a good serving streak, this time by senior Jade Liu, helped along by Habib's spikes and excellent setting by senior Rowan Afflerbach.
The Cavaliers returned to the second set with a renewed drive and determination; they kept it tied up for a good part of the first half. The Blazers got a bit disjointed during that early part of the set, making mistakes in receiving and blocking that helped Kennedy along. Blair started subbing out players a lot more frequently at this point, allowing every team member to get a good amount of game time. Some crafty spikes by seniors Emily Daly and Maria Navitskaya helped propel the team into a strong lead towards the latter part of the set. Senior Angela Zhou finished it all off with a beautifully placed serve that whizzed past the Cavaliers and ended the set.
The final set found Kennedy even more anxious to even it out with Blair. Though it once more started in Blair's favor, it was the most contested of the three sets right up till the end. Blair kept the first half of the match running smoothly, digs from senior Angela Zhou and sophomore Jasmine Blassingame helped facilitate spikes by senior Maria Cruz and freshman Maggie Wang. Towards the end of the match the Cavaliers started gaining on Blair, getting eight consecutive points. Blair kept its composure and got back into the swing of things with some kills, ending Kennedy's streak and the match.
The team's performance during the match benefited from the consistent and powerful serves seen throughout, as Junior Christine Gao attested. "We served well. A lot of people, even though they weren't our regular; they were serving in and they were serving pretty tough." Gao said. "So, Kennedy wasn't expecting that and I think that that was a contributing factor to why we won."
The victory was happily received, but it did not meet Coach Klein's expectations of the team. "Even though we won in three sets I'm really kind of not happy with our performance because I think that we played well enough to win but I don't think we played to our standards." Coach Klein said. "I think that we can play another level up, we didn't run our fast offense the way I wanted it to run and we played a little bit sloppy but ultimately we came out on top which is all you can ask for."
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