Men’s volleyball team rebounds, takes top spot
March 27, 2008
Filed under Sports
Fighting inconsistent play throughout the game, the men’s volleyball team rallied together to win the deciding game of the match with Long Beach City Friday, taking the set, 3-2.
The Warriors (8-4) played until the fifth game of a match for the second time this season, and they needed the win to remain among the elite teams in the conference.
“We defended our home court; we were 2-3 at home,” coach Richard Blount said.
The Warriors hope to continue their winning ways at home against Moorpark Friday before going to Long Beach City next Friday.
Beating the No. 1 team in its conference is a big stepping-stone for the men, but the team knows that every team they face will be good.
“There are a lot of good teams, every team we face is fairly good,” Kurt Peters, assistant coach, said.
The Warriors were led with 59 assists from setter Daniel Rodrick; 10 blocks from outside hitter Kevin Downing, and 15 digs from setter Rikki Garma.
At this stage in the season, members of the team believe they are in contention for the conference title, and after the huge win against Long Beach City, the Warriors have proven that they are capable of winning tough games.
“Absolutely, we are contenders,” Corey Palmer, outside hitter, said. “We proved it by beating Long Beach City.”
With a dominant win in the first game, the men began to lose momentum with key mistakes and miscommunication in the second game.
“I tried to stay calm and composed to keep the others focused,” Garma said.
With a couple of key kills, the team rallied and retained the momentum that it had in the first game of the match.
“We cut our errors down,” Blount said. “We had good focus throughout the night.”
With their captain calm throughout the match, the confidence level remained high as the team fought through the low points of the next couple of games.
“I thought we should have won all three sets,” Garma said.
With the next two matches ending in a point each for both teams, it set the stage for the exciting climax of the hard fought match.
“We were ready to go through the long haul, it was a good team win,” Blount said.
The Warriors limited their mistakes in the final game of the match and came away with a victory, 22-20, off of a block.
“We passed very well (in the final game), the one thing that we were struggling with at times,” Peters said. “We just played very well, and either team could have won.”
The Warriors demonstrated their resilience and the growing trust that each member has developed in one another, and Garma has led the way as the team’s captain.ÿÿÿÿÿÿ
“I think Rikki stepped up as a captain, and we weren’t as worried (about the outcome of the game),” Palmer said. “I think we did a very good job as a team.”
With good blocking and defensive pressure, the Warriors were able to hold of Long Beach, who made runs throughout the match.
“Defensively, we did better; a lot of blocking and digging,” Palmer said. “We needed a couple good hits; we had a couple key blocks.”
Another step in helping the team chemistry process, the bench has now made it a ritual to chant and yell at the team on the court after every good point, whether that is a kill or a key block.
“I think it does help out our team in that it brings us closer, but I think they have a different chant depending on the player,” Garma said.
The team knows that practice is needed to be where Long Beach has been the last two years, in the top spot. With that knowledge, the pressure of being an elite team will lead to harder practices and more focus from the players.
“The team that have beaten us, we played at their level,” Blount said. “We still haven’t played to all six cylinders.”
Despite the monumental win over Long Beach City, members of the Warriors understand that they must continue working on their defense and passing to win the conference title.
“It’s encouraging to see us earn some quality wins,” Garma said. “Our big thing is consistency, and to just not to get ahead of ourselves: We need to still prove ourselves.”