Blazers thwarted by inconsistent serve receive
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Oct. 11—
The girls' varsity volleyball team (3-6) lost to Paint Branch (6-5) in three sets on Thursday, with final scores of 13-25, 21-25 and 19-25. Though the Blazers more than matched Paint Branch for much of the game, the final scores reflected isolated periods of poor serve reception that cost Blair the win.
Blair began to struggle with their serve receive midway through the first set, when the score was tied at 11-11. From then until the end of the set, the Blazers had trouble returning Paint Branch's serves. As a result, the Blazers' scoring plummeted. Blair only managed to gain two points in the time it took the Panthers to score 14 and finish the set.
The Blazers displayed renewed focus in the second set, working together well and getting the ball over the net despite hard hits from Paint Branch. Head Coach Christopher Klein said the team had been practicing setting after imperfect passes, so that the Blazers' offense would be able to return the ball even with shaky passing. Sophomore libero Jade Liu felt that senior Linda Kang executed the Blazers' new offensive strategy well. "Her setting was really good and she placed the ball really well," Liu said. This strategy affected the second set, allowing the Blazers to score more.
In the third set, the Blazers played well despite improvements in the Panthers' game. Paint Branch started blocking more aggressively, shutting down some volleys with a hard to return touch to the floor. Junior Amy Yan proved difficult to Panthers' blockers, because her hits were often too powerful and high for the blockers to get a good hand on. The Blazer defense also did well returning the Panthers' blocks. "We were getting a lot of the blocks up, which we've been practicing," said Liu.
The Blazers made Paint Branch work hard for their win in the end of the third set. The score got to game point, at 13-24, in a short volley when the Blazers accidentally bumped the ball up high and out of bounds. After Paint Branch gave a short serve into the net, Blair gained the serve and Yan started a streak of excellent serves that severely weakened the Panthers' lead. The Panthers were unable to return three of her six serves and the Blazers came out on top in a few volleys, bringing the final score to 19-25.
Kang complimented Yan's serving at the end of the third set. "In the last game, when it was 24 to whatever, she didn't give up. She kept serving hard," Kang said. "That was a lot of pressure."
Yan felt that the Blazers should improve their stamina to succeed in future games. "We need to work on keeping up the intensity and not giving up," she said.
The Blair girls' volleyball team will play their next home match against Rockville at 6:00 p.m. on Oct. 24
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