Warriors barely creep past Blazers

March 24, 2006, midnight | By Merlyn Deng, Payal Patnaik | 18 years ago

Boys' volleyball loses in clincher, 16-18


Crowned as county champs last season and fresh from a close shave against Churchill on Tuesday, the boys' volleyball team fell to the Sherwood Warriors yesterday. Playing against the very team they beat for the county title, the Blazers fought for a victory until the very last point.

The boys' volleyball evening started in disarray, as the team's new coach, Sang Ahn, was not present. Coed coach John Mott had to cover as coach and was assisted by last year's players Jansen Sheng and co-captain Paul Wong. Nevertheless, the boys' volleyball's evening started safely enough, with the teams still tied at 14-14 after showing solid play. Freshman setter Willy Li, in his second Blair game, had consistently strong blocks, while junior Allen Zhang provided the team with its first ace that evening. But the tides began to turn after a strong volley against the Warriors, which foreshadowed the tenacity of both teams that fought for every point. The previous strength that the boys had shown earlier deteriorated as the team started making small mistakes – enough minute errors for them to lose 22-25.

In the second game, the boys could not overcome Sherwood's momentum and consistence. The Blazer strength in the early stages of the first game completely evaporated, although junior Tim He and senior Adrian Cretzu attempted to even the score with kills later in the game. These efforts were fruitless because the other players failed to cover the backcourt, leading to Sherwood second game victory, 25-21.

The Blazers made a comeback in the third game after a strong start that put them ahead 4-2. A strong kill by He at 4-2 was followed by a kill by junior co-captain Jay Chang at the 15-11 mark. Throughout the game, Chang's excellent receiving and consistent performance left the formerly dominating Warriors in the dust. The powerhouse didn't stop there – the boys continuously gathered momentum throughout the match to eventually gain a whopping lead of 10 points at 23-13, the largest lead in the match. The only time the boys faltered that game was at the very end, when Sherwood caught up a few points, resulting in a slightly closer score of 25-20 for Blair's first winning set.

The boys' determination mounted high after bagging their first win. The fourth game started off shakily at 2-5. Because the teams were so evenly matched, an early lead was necessary to forge ahead for a win. After a few aces and kills made by Zhang and Chang, the boys gained momentum again. Junior middle hitter Max Wolf hustled to the ball, making quick saves taps that gave the team the points to forge ahead. Cretzu's cross hits disabled the other team, and Chang's powerful hits became more numerous and lethal. Sherwood's defense was powerless against Blair's renewed strength.

The fifth game was one of high intensity. Blair had an early lead and inched along, battling for the lead against Sherwood. The final game consisted of 15 points, and tension mounted high when the two teams were tied at 11-11. Sherwood and Blair then traded off points. The Blazers earned three points for Sherwood's technical errors, while they also had an error as well. The last points were all a matter of perspective.

The boy's team had very good teamwork to make up for their lack of experience playing together. Their rotations are not quite as smooth as last year's, but the boys work well together and communicate well.

"I was actually pleasantly surprised from last year. We did really well for the second game of the season because we haven't been playing for a long time together," Wolf said.

With such a close game and technical calls that depended on a referee's opinion, the game could have gone either way. However, Chang had mixed feelings about Blair's performance. "We tried very hard, but we could have done better," he said after the game. "We did lose a lot of seniors but I was rather pleased with today's performance. We need to work on team offense and consistency, though."

Chang admirably shouldered the responsibility of leading the team in an admirable way, although he was unable to coach and play at the same time. Team spirit was high, which is essential to a team-dependent sport like volleyball. Although the boys volleyball team has room for improvement and lost the game, this young team should not consider the close game a complete loss since they fought hard and well.

Merlyn Deng. Merlyn (Mer - LEEN) has an unhealthy fixation on Silver Chips Online, the Silver Chips Manifesto, red pens and serial commas. When not editing stories and racking her brain for SCO and its readers, she may be found haunting Blair's hallways or downtown Silver Spring. … More »

Payal Patnaik. Payal's bad habits include compulsive apologizing, and....sorry. More »

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