The Blazers control the game from the onset and crush the Titans
The Blair girls' varsity volleyball team (8-2) was able to outplay the Einstein Titans (1-9) on Thursday in only three sets. The match featured a quick offense from the Blazers as they varied up their plays and made use of their second-string players. The scores for the sets were: 25-13, 25-11 and 25-12
The Blazers were caught a little off guard heading into the match, but got ahold of the situation. "They showed a much better performance than we were expecting which in the beginning caught us a little off guard," junior Christine Gao said. "Once we figured that we can't underestimate that; we started playing our own game."
The first set of the match started off with a long point streak for the Blazers. They racked up 12 consecutive points before the ball switched possession again.
The streak was kept going due to excellent serving by senior Jade Liu as well as a quick offense including tips from senior Leila Habib and spikes from freshman Maggie Wang. The start of the set featured mistakes on the Titan's side which helped Blair along, including persistent issues with receiving serves and digging. Einstein got back into gear toward the middle of the set, going back up 6 points due to a resurgence of defense as well as some strong serves. Ultimately, Blair was able to keep this revival in check and finished off the match with an amazing spike by Liu that ripped through Einstein's players.
The Titans started off the second set with a renewed offensive strategy and better serve-receive. They staved off long point streaks like those that were seen in the first set but they weren't able to match Blair's offense. Seniors Maria Novitskaya and Emily Daly got some great kills through craftily placed spikes that bypasses Einstein's defense. Freshman Maggie Wang executed a barrage of powerful spikes that broke through defenders. The Titans did stay competitive though, getting in a few well-placed blocks to trip up Blair's offense as well as more consistently being able to control and return the ball. The set was won once Liu started up another serving streak, getting in a few amazing aces and completely decimating the Titans.
The Blazers kept fighting hard through the third and final set; their determination helped them to control the situation. Blair did very well with serving, specifically seniors Rowan Afflerbach and Maria Novitskaya each delivered some aces and kept the pressure up on Einstein. The Titans elongated the set to some extent by keeping the ball in play longer and delivering some powerful spikes, but this could not make up for their lack in defense and difficulty coordinating. The Blazers held a strong lead throughout the set and played a very dynamic game, switching attack patterns and confusing Einstein. The match came to a close with a brilliant ace by senior Alani Fujii that sent the ball arching over defenders and to the ground.
Freshman Tiffany Mao was happy with how the match unfolded, but also saw some room for improvement. "I think it was actually pretty good, we were able to run a lot of plays, and everyone was serving pretty well," Mao said. "I think that our serve-receive still has to improve though."
Coach Christopher Klein felt that the match was up to par and a good sign for the season. "We went out there and executed, I thought it looked good. It looked better than it did in the last game; it looked better than we were doing at practice yesterday," Klein said. "It's been a very successful season for us so far and we're going to continue to work on what we do well, which is that we're a really good defensive team, we're a really good serving team and we're developing more and more threats on offense."
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