By Staff Writer Hannah Chou
Boys’ Volleyball competed against Irvington High School in a home game on Friday, April 7 to kick off the second half of the volleyball season. In a hard fought battle between two strong teams, also accompanied by the audience’s enthusiastic cheering for their respective sides, the Warriors emerged victorious in a series of five sets with scores of 19-25, 25-18, 16-25, 25-22, and 15-7.
Irvington obtained an early lead in the first set with their many hard serves and fast plays, and MSJ’s slow start prevented them from closing the point gap, resulting in the loss of the opening set. However, in the second set, MSJ came back with more intensity, and their consistent passing and strong swings and blocks propelled them to win the second set. Despite the win, Irvington rose to the challenge and began playing smart, placing the ball in areas that the MSJ players were not covering, which led them to win the third set. With the momentum gained from the win, Irvington started strong in the fourth set. MSJ fought Irvington’s momentum through heightened determination and competitive spirit, and the team managed to clutch the fourth set and soundly defeat Irvington in the fifth set. Several skillful passes from Libero Senior Andy Zhou, accurate sets from Setter Freshman Andy Tong, and strong hits from all the hitters combined with the team’s energy and chemistry helped the Warriors defeat one of their main rivals in the league.
MSJ made many exceptional plays, and Varsity Head Coach Thien Nguyen believes that the highlight of the game is not one specific play but instead the team’s consistent energy and determination throughout the match. “We kept the energy up all through 5 sets.” Nguyen said. “It was a tough match, and the only thing we could count on was our energy. Irvington was a really tough team – they were blocking us, and they were digging us – and the only thing that stayed constant on our side was our energy, and that was our key to success.” Captain Senior Louis Cai agrees that teamwork was the key to their victory. “There aren’t really any highlight plays in our [style of] volleyball,” Cai said. “We always have the few people who shine on offense and who shine on defense, so it’s more [about] how the team came together in a group effort to push through and win.”
Despite the win, the team still believes that they have much to work on. “The road ahead of us is pretty tough because we need to keep the pressure on, since it’s the second half of the season.” Nguyen said. “We want to focus on playing clean and all the aspects of the game, which are passing, setting, hitting, and just clean everything like that to prepare for our next games.” With Boys’ Volleyball currently boasting a 6-1 league ranking, the team has the potential to advance to compete in the North Coast Section Championship Tournament.
Photo by Staff Writer Hannah Chou