Blair outlasted by Blue Devils, 2-1
MAY 1, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM—
The boys' varsity volleyball team ended a promising five-game winning streak with a 2-1 loss to Springbrook High School in its last home game of the season. Facing the Blue Devils in its biggest division match of the year, Blair's team struggled with mental errors and fell in three games: 15-8, 8-15 and 4-15.
Despite missing sophomore starters James Lee, Paul Wong and Randy Li, Blair opened the match with crisp execution. "We passed well, served tough and were fast on defense," said Coach J.J. Rathnam. "We found open spots on the other team's court and had all the momentum on our side."
Disappointingly, Blair lost much of its momentum by the second and third games, yielding easy points to Springbrook, who capitalized time and again on the Blazers' errors. With the division champion title dangling over their heads, the Blazers' frayed nerves gave way under increased pressure, and the team began to slip frequently on routine plays that the team had completed consistently earlier in the season.
Several key absences forced Rathnam to shuffle the team's usual rotations, knocking the Blazers off-kilter. "Without [Lee] there, we were down our biggest hitter on the outside," he said. "Not having Randy Li or Paul Wong just hurt us even more."
"I think we had a decent chance; we just made too many mistakes," said senior co-captain Daniel Ku. "With our whole team there, we could have won."
Rathnam felt disappointed that the team had failed to reach its full potential by the end of the season. Several of the Blazers' key players were out for four days. The lack of practice threw the team's timing off and the players weren't able to recover their lost cohesiveness in time for the playoffs.
After only one practice together, the Blazers went on to defeat Einstein High School on May 6, capping their last victory before finishing the season at 8-4.
Entering the playoffs, they lost to Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School on May 8. "I was disappointed, but it was a good season," remarked Rathnam. "We achieved our goal of making the playoffs, and we were really only one game away from being first in our division."
Rathnam speculates that the team's tenth graders have tremendous potential over the next two years. "Lee, Li and Wong are only sophomores, and Tim Yang is still a junior, so the next couple of years, we should be a pretty solid team," he said.
At the end of a season dedicated to reconstruction, the team is already looking to next year. The loss of several key seniors is "a big deficit that we're going to have to overcome," said Rathnam. "The leadership that Dan [Ku] and Kevin [Fang] provided is really going to be missed."
The team echoes much of the same sentiment. "We had some pretty big shoes to fill last year," said Lee. "As much experience as we've gained from this season, we still have a long way to go."
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 »