Last Friday, the boys’ volleyball team lost a thriller against Homestead in a five-set game, finishing 23-25, 25-20, 25-16, 21-25, and 11-15.
Aces by junior Zachary Gosler and senior Will Wang resulted in an early lead for the Bears in the first set. Sophomore Jonny Kerr got an ace with his powerful downspin serve, maintaining the Bears’ small 7-5 lead. A strategic roll shot by junior Andrew Bernadicou over the block brought the score to 10-6. Halfway through the game, seniors Matthew Chriss and Michael Dacey converted a double block, giving M-A full momentum. However, the Bears were unable to defend Homestead’s powerful middle blocker and concluded the nail-bitingly close set with a score of 23-25.
The second set started off with two unforced errors, but the determined Bears quickly gained a lead. Dacey was especially strong with his blocking and hitting. Wang, the lead attacker, had 17 kills this game. He proved to be a strong hitter from both the front and back row, slamming the ball loud onto the ground numerous times, and eliciting cheers that echoed all around the gym. Wang also had a serving run, serving three times in a row. With another powerful kill from the right side, senior Alex Wright solidified the Bears’ 25-20 victory in the second set.
The Bears started off the third set strong with powerful hitters, serving, and serve-receive. Numerous kills from the middle by Wright stretched the Bears’ lead and helped them and helped them end the set with a dominant 25-6 win. Wang said, “We did well in blocking and on offense to secure. That said, we just executed.”
Sophomore Peter Chriss was the first server in the fourth set. He was the most consistent server of the game, making all 20 of his serves over the net. Bernadicou jumped impressively high and powerfully slammed the ball into the ground, leading to cheering both on and off the court. A shank removed the Bears’ lead, leaving the two teams tied at 20-20. The Bears were unable to remain consistent, however, and ended up losing the fourth set 21-25 by hitting the ball out of bounds.
During the last set, the Bears received the first point with a tip by Dacey. However, Homestead quickly gained the lead. Peter Chriss had two aces in crucial moments of the game, shortening Homestead’s lead from four points to just two. Throughout the game, he also had flawless sets, allowing the hitters numerous opportunities to get a good swing. A tool by Wang and a kill by Bernadicou further showcased the Bears’ consistent offense. However, Homestead’s fierce offense proved to be too much for the Bears’ defense, leading to instances of miscommunication and shanks. Head coach Darryl Chan admitted, “I would say our challenge is defense and passing.” This fast-paced set ended 11-15, solidifying the M-A loss.
Bernadicou reflected on the game by saying, “Considering the other team is really good, I think we played a good game. We had some errors, but we are getting better each game. We have a lot of really talented players.”
Wang also added, “Something we can do better is playing as a team. Right now, everyone’s playing individually, so we just need that chemistry. We also need to work on playing under pressure.”
Finally, Chan said, “My goals are for the guys to compete on the court and to develop cohesiveness as a team.” He explained his enthusiasm for this year’s team, saying, “We have eight seniors, so it’s been fun watching these young men develop over the last three or four years. If they stay healthy, we’ll be a good team. We are tall and we have some good hitters.”