Since 2000 graduation of former star, team has struggled to regain championship form
OCTOBER 2, NELSON H. KOBREN MEMORIAL GYMNASIUM-
The Blair girls' volleyball team lost an emotional match to Blake High School with scores of 15-7, 4-15 and 7-15.
The Blazers played solidly in the first game, executing plays and not merely relying on mistakes by Blake.
Spikes and blocks by sophomore captain Carrie Bartlett accounted for four of Blair's points and sophomore Emily Ramsay blocked the ball successfully three times.
Both Ramsay and senior Tracy Lin suffered from ankle injuries earlier in the season.
After the first match, the Blazers suffered from a lack of communication, which led to confused and frustrated play.
The third set was especially disheartening. Blake scored 13 points before Blair had recorded even one.
In the midst of despair, there was evidence of potential. Seven consecutive serves by sophomore Amanda Hsiung led to the only Blair points of the set. "At that point, we played the type of game we are capable of playing," said Coach Jamie Franck.
Though mistakes by both teams abounded, the Blazers succeeded in defending against a strategy that has plagued them in other games this year. Some opponents, such as Magruder and Springbrook high schools, set the ball over on their second hit occasionally to an unprepared Blair defense. Blake tried this trick several times but failed in each attempt.
The Blazers have dropped two games this season that they expected to win, the first against Springbrook on September 25.
"We're the better team, we just didn't play like it," said Hsiung in comparison to Blake's team. Blair went 3-11 last year after winning the state championship two years ago.
Franck predicted that this year varsity will do much better than it did last year. He said last year's team was still coping with the absence of Lisa Weir, who currently plays for Towson University.
With today's defeat, Blair's official record was evened to 3-3, but the Sept 21 Magruder game which was recorded as a loss is still under dispute.
According to Franck, the official Magruder scorekeeper neglected to record Blair's ninth point, which would have led to a victory.
The discrepancy was not discovered until the Blazers began to celebrate victory when the scoreboard showed 15-12 in their favor. A Blair point was taken away and Magruder went on to win, 14-16.
Fortunately, the game was recorded and Franck plans to review the tape before submitting an official protest. Magruder's varsity coach is the commissioner of the league.
The high quality of play against Magruder showed Blair's ability to step up to the level of their opponents. At best, the Blazers can match up with nearly anyone, but problems with communication are a major barrier. "When we don't talk [to each other], we don't play well," said Franck.
Blair was supposed to play at Whitman High School on Sept 29 but the game has been cancelled. The game at Walter Johnson High School originally scheduled for September 14 was not played because of the national tragedy and has yet to be rescheduled.
Blair has an unusually small team consisting of nine players, six of which are on the court at any given time. Most teams Blair has faced thus far have had about 12.
Ben Meiselman. Ben Meiselman is a senior in the Communication Arts Program at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Maryland. He enjoys playing sports, especially baseball. Ben is seventeen years old, born May 16, 1985. He has played the trumpet since fourth grade when he began … More »