Walter Johnson defeats Blazers in three set match
NELSON H. KOBREN GYMNASIUM, Oct. 28—
The girls' varsity volleyball team (4-9) suffered a disappointing loss to the Walter Johnson Wildcats (10-3) by scores of 19-25, 14-25 and 17-25.While both sides struggled with serve errors, attacking and penalties during the match, the final scores were the result of cunning plays and good defense.
According to head coach Christopher Klein, Walter Johnson is historically good at volleyball; this year's squad was no different. "All of their players play club, even their bench players…and even the JV players," he said. Klein added that the team's record was also proof of its skill. "This was a team that went 9-3, so I knew it was going to be tough," he said. "I knew we needed to bring our A-game." Junior Emily Vo echoed her coach's statement. "I expected for us to start off with a lot of energy," she said.
Despite being the underdogs, the Blazers never let up and kept the score close in each of the sets. Blair started the game strong, racking up three consecutive points on the board before Walter Johnson scored. The teams remained neck and neck, occasionally giving up points when players made serve and passing error.
The Wildcats broke away with a four point lead over the Blazers after Blair suffered from several errors and a rotation penalty call in the middle of the first set. Although the Blazers remained in hot pursuit—including a pair of kills by senior co-captain Nika Lilley to extend set point, they were unable to catch up to the Wildcats, losing the final point due to a passing error.
After Vo scored the first kill, Blair looked ready to take the second set. However, Walter Johnson quickly stole the lead, bringing the score up to 6-1, in their favor. Blair tripped up and was award a few penalties, including one where a Blazer's foot slipped under the net and onto Walter Johnson's side of the court. Then, the Wildcats quickly extended their lead to 24-10. Although the Blazers had a four point run right after that, it was not enough to overcome the score deficit and they lost the second set.
Even though the team was down two sets and losing, 0-5, Blair continued to fight at the beginning of the third set. Capitalizing on Walter Johnson's errors and penalties, good blocks and a few kills, Blair closed the score gap to 10-13. However, the Wildcats didn't let the Blazers catch up and extended their lead to ten points. After a time out, Blair had a four point run, but Walter Johnson was able to finish the team off and ended the game.
Despite the outcome of the match, Klein was proud of his team. According to Klein, the Blazers struggled with nerves throughout the season whenever they played the best teams in the county. However, they overcame their nerves on Friday. "They didn't get psyched out, and went out and fought for every point," he said. Junior middle Jordyn Schroeder echoed her coach's statement. "I knew that WJ had a very good record before the game started, we all knew, but that didn't discourage us from giving it all we had," she said.
According to Schroeder, the team played with more energy than in previous games. "We played with a lot of hustle during the game, and played with heart," she said. Klein added that the team improved in several other areas, such as communication and setting, which attributed to the competitiveness throughout the match. "We executed a lot of things well. Communication was good," he said, "and our setting improved a lot, even though both our setters have injuries to their wrists." He added, "We were tougher with free balls, so we didn't give them any stuff to work with."
Although the team only has one game left in the regular season, it is preparing for playoffs. According to Schroder, the team could work on serving. "We could have served better; we had several service errors during the game," she said. Klein agreed with Schroeder and added, "We can't have so many missed serves. A few times, we put the ball into the net. We can't let that happen."
After playing well against Walter Johnson, the team believes they are capable of doing great things in their upcoming games. "[Damascus] is going to be a tough game," Schroeder said. "I think if we play hard and get ready for playoffs, we can do well."
Vo agreed with her teammate. "I expect the same amount of energy [as this game], if not more for the rest of the season," she said. However, she explained that regardless of the outcome, the team has improved immensely and she is happy with that. "Win or lose, I'm really proud of my team," she said.
The girls' varsity volleyball team will play its next home game against Damascus on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 6 p.m.
Brittany Cheng. <br>Brittany Cheng ('13) served as co-Editor-in-Chief of Silver Chips Online (SCO) with <a href = "http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/staff/698">Langston Taylor</a> during the 2012-2013 school year. During their tenure, Cheng and Taylor led the site's front page makeover with technical staff members Prashan Dharmasena and Jessica Shi, incorporated live-blogging ... More »