Boys Volleyball Add to Stellar Season

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On Wednesday, the boy’s volleyball team took on the San Mateo Bearcats, sweeping them in three sets to add to their excellent 25-6 record. 

The Bears started off strong. A first-point service error from San Mateo set M-A up for success, with junior Johnny Kerr and sophomore Ben Warner earning consecutive points from tool kills off the block. 

The Bearcats were able to hold pace with the Bears for the first few points, however, two aces from Warner to top off a five-point serving streak overwhelmed San Mateo, forcing them into numerous offensive errors as the Bears grew their lead to 10-5. 

Senior Andrew Bernardicou was able to make up for the few points earned by San Mateo due to a gap in the Bears’ block. Bernadicou showcased several huge swings down the line from the outside, as well as several smart roll shots that fell in the campfire of San Mateo. As several powerful blocks from sophomore Millo Skhiri began to lessen defensive stress on the Bears, the Bearcats started falling further behind, with the score tallying an impressive 18-8. Solo blocks and numerous kills from Shkiri, as well as sharp angle kills by Warner sealed the first set for M-A, boasting a 25-13 score. 

The Bears were high-energy the entirety of the second set. “I was really proud of how strong our energy was the first two sets. We were really able to both push the other team and ourselves because of how well we were executing on both defense and offense,” said junior captain Peter Chriss. Skhiri came out strong from the start, putting up three consecutive solo stuff blocks, setting M-A up for an offensively dominant set, with a headstart score of 5-0.

The Bears were quick to adapt to San Mateo’s large block. Warner was able to find the floor with his kills by hitting between San Mateo’s block, rendering the Bearcats unable to dig his powerful line shots. Kerr also quickly learned to adapt to San Mateo’s block, using it to tool. With a score of 13-11, what really overwhelmed the Bearcats were Bernardicou’s serves. 

Several aces from Bernadicou forced San Mateo into a timeout, and an immediate tip over the block by Warner quickly sent San Mateo back into their frenzy following the timeout. Multiple clever roll shots puzzled the Bearcats, bringing the score 17-12. Freshman star Evan Smith made his debut appearance for the Varsity team, earning an ace for the team. The Bears finished the set off with a kill from the right side by Kerr, finishing the set with a whopping 25-15 score. 

The Bears started the third set off slow. “We were both physically tired, and got a bit too comfortable competitively-speaking too. So we definitely started off the third set sluggish following the electricity from the other two sets. Mistakes at the beginning led to a tighter set, however our setter was able to hold us all together for sure,” said Warner. 

Off the bat, Skhiri earned the Bears two consecutive kills. Four consecutive offensive errors, as well as a failure to close the block, left the Bears trailing the Bearcats 2-6. However, a kill from Warner on the outside seemed to turn the tide of the pace for the Bears. Consecutive kills and tools by Warner tied the score 7-7, and junior setter Peter Chriss began to dominate offensively, earning points from numerous dumps and huge solo blocks. 

Chriss’ overwhelming offensive work earned the Bears five points, and the Bearcats were quickly forced into a timeout after the Bears came back 12-7. Senior libero Aden Swartzberg made it hard for the Bearcats to gain any kills on M-A, however a larger sealed block caused the Bears offensive trouble. Several kills from San Mateo forced the Bears into a timeout, however M-A was eventually able to pull a 25-21 win by overpowering the Bearcats with powerful serving force.

The win pushed the teams’ regular season record to 25-6, one of the best of any sport at M-A this year. They will compete in their first CCS playoff game on Monday, their opponent will be announced soon.

Kate is a senior at M-A. She enjoys talking to people and hopes to write stories in which she can represent multiple groups and perspectives around campus. In her free time, she likes to read, play volleyball, run track, and spend time with friends.

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