Trojans best Blazers


Oct. 19, 2004, midnight | By Nick Falgout | 16 years, 3 months ago

Blair drops to 1-9 against talented Gaithersburg team


OCT. 19, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM –

On a dark Tuesday evening, as it drizzled drearily outside of Blair's gymnasium, it was the Gaithersburg Trojans who ended up leaving the varsity girls' volleyball team with dampened spirits. The Trojans' three-game victory (25-19, 25-8, 25-12) over the Blazers was Blair's sixth straight loss, bringing their record to a dismal 1-9.

Blair sported consistent service, improved communication and a superb net game but was outmatched by the hard-hitting Gaithersburg squad. Gaithersburg also bounced service for most of the match, and Blair more frequently scored points off of Trojan errors than they did via their own devices.

The first game was Blair's best. The Blazers took an early 1-0 lead on an ace by freshman Julie Zhu, but quickly fell behind by several points. On a nice-looking kill shot by AJ Willis, the referee ruled that she had touched the net, bringing the score to 1-4. Blair pulled even to five all on an unreturned serve by Willis, to six all on a beautifully finessed set by Zhu that fell between all six Trojan players and then to seven all on a muffed Trojan serve. Gaithersburg rapidly pulled away, though, rattling off six straight points (three of them unreturned serves) before Blair called a timeout with the score 7-13. Blair made a game of it, pulling to within three at 13-16 on a brutal block by Willis (prompting a Gaithersburg timeout), and then to within two at 17-19 when the return of a serve by senior Thaissa Souza sailed wide. Unfortunately, the Trojans regrouped, and won the first game 25-19 when an attempted block by Willis fell just short and hit the Blazers' side of the court.

Blair didn't look nearly as competitive in game two. Of the eight points they scored, only two came as a direct result of Blair action, and only one came on service. Zhu started with a laser beam of a serve that was bumped wide, and Blair had a 2-1 lead when a Gaithersburg serve hit the net. The Trojans won the next seven points, lost a point when a spike sailed long, then won the next three, pulling the score to 3-11. The gym erupted into cheers and stomping when sophomore Felicia Olawuni executed a beautiful two-handed block to bring the Blazers to 5-12, but the Blazers could not regain their momentum. Blair never scored more than one point consecutively, and the Trojans coasted to their second straight game win, 25-8.

Blair took 1-0 and 2-1 leads early in the third game on key blocks by Willis and Olawuni, each of whom had very good matches at the net. As in the first game, Blair pulled to 6-3 on the service of Willis and a nice block by junior Haweya Farah. The Trojans once again regrouped, though, winning eleven points before Blair regained the serve on a nice one-handed save by Farah. The key play in game three came with senior and co-captain Kate Selby serving and the score at 11-17. Selby served toward the back of the Trojan court, and chaos ensued. Selby dug the first Trojan spike, but the Trojans quickly sent the ball over again. Senior Agathe Nyake dove for this one, and Blair sent it back over, only to have the Trojans block the ball. Zhu dove and got one hand on the ball but sent it flying backwards, at which point Souza stabilized the ball with a running overhead bump. Nyake touched the ball back over and it was blocked, but Willis was standing at the net ready to block it back. Both the Gaithersburg player and Willis appeared to touch the net, which would have given the point to the Blazers, but the referee gave the point to the Trojans. The Blazers won only a single point from there, and the Trojans won the game 25-12, and took the match.

After the match, Coach Anne Garrison had positive words for her team. "Our serving was much better than it has been," said Garrison. "The thing I was most excited about, though, was our blocking." She also commended the Blazers on their communication, calling it "much better than [in] other games we've played." Garrison also rued that the Blazers had been facing Trojans. "[Gaithersburg] is one the of the better-hitting teams we've faced," said Garrison. "If we'd played the way we played in game one against Blake, we would have won."

Blair's next game is at Springbrook on Oct. 22, at 7:00 p.m.



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