Sluggish Blazers inch past Blake Bengals

April 23, 2003, midnight | By Sherri Geng | 17 years, 9 months ago


In their first game back from spring break, the boys' varsity volleyball team eked out a slow victory over the Blake High School Bengals, winning in two sluggish games, 15-7 15-12, and improving their season record to 5-3.

Despite considerable development over the course of the season, the Blazers lurched into the first game with sloppy and unfocused play, moving slowly and digging numerous shots into the net within the first several rallies.

After securing the first point with an ace from defensive specialist junior Sam Wen, Blair quickly lost possession and began to yield to a spate of simple mental errors. The Bengals trailed the Blazers point-for-point to 4-3 in a jumble of side-outs before Blair finally pulled ahead to a six point lead.

Blair battled with bouts of miscommunication, but managed to win back points by delivering steady shots to the middle hitters. In a last attempt to shake off their sluggish pace, the Blazers sided out at 14-7 with a solid kill from sophomore hitter James Lee and capped a victory over the Bengals at 15-7 with another ace from Wen, his fifth of the game.

The Blazers returned in the second game with renewed vigor, but an unfamiliar line-up, including several less experienced players, handed the Bengals the lead for the first time. Blair yielded possession at 1-2, before regaining it at 1-4 with a kill from Wen. The Blazers drew even at 4-4 and pulled ahead to a seven point lead before letting Blake side-out at 12-5.

From there, the Bengals put in their own seven point run, tying the score at 12-12. An indecisive Blake team faltered in the last minutes of the game, letting Blair senior co-captain Daniel Ku score a kill before the team put the match away at 15-12.

Coach JJ Rathnam attributed the team's scattered concentration to a loss of momentum from the weeks before spring break. Hampered by mental mistakes and faced with a weaker team, the Blazers fell to a lower standard of performance, according to Rathnam. "It was very sloppy. The energy level wasn't there," he said. "[They made] mental mistakes, like not realizing whose ball it was and being tentative on the outs."

Neither Rathnam nor the team was pleased with tonight's performance. "A win is always good," said Rathnam, "but we could have played with more intensity, showed more of our skill."

Sophomore setter Paul Wong agreed. "We weren't in the right mindframe," he explained. "We're not up to our usual [potential]."

Rathnam hopes to focus on increasing passing consistency and developing the team with new drills. "We have to change it up," said Rathnam. "We're going to start needing it if we want to make the playoffs."

The team's next match will be on Fri Apr 25 in the Blair gymnasium against Paint Branch High School at 3:30 pm.

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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 »

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