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Boys volleyball loses to Harvard-Westlake

It was a tough loss last night for the boys’ volleyball team at Chaminade’s home gym. After a long, hard battle, Harvard-Westlake swept the match in three games. Despite the tough loss, Chaminade battled hard and played scrappy enough to fill the game with entertaining rallies. Right out of the gate, Chaminade began with an…
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olundp

March 21, 2015

It was a tough loss last night for the boys’ volleyball team at Chaminade’s home gym. After a long, hard battle,
Harvard-Westlake swept the match in three games. Despite the tough loss, Chaminade
battled hard and played scrappy enough to fill the game with entertaining
rallies. Right out of the gate, Chaminade began with an intimidating warmup and
did have a height advantage.  It seemed
that this was going to be a close game.

From the start, it was apparent that
Harvard-Westlake would utilize their pin hitters.  But while Harvard-Westlake did have their
stand out hits, Chaminade’s back row was there to pick up many of them.  Cameron Ring and Gus Hurlbut were ready to
pass and the night was filled with phenomenal digs. Chaminade’s liberos were
not the only ones providing spectacular defense. JP Pantin, Chaminade’s setter,
proved to have the hustle and speed needed in order to pick up and save many
shanked passes. Even when a ball seemed nearly impossible to pop up, he
surprised the crowd with a saving play.

Chaminade’s Mike Henzgen, a
sophomore, led the team in offense and defense. Henzgen may be shorter
than the average volleyball player, but he has a vertical like no other. Many
of the night’s points were scored by Henzgen who not only hit with power, but
placed the ball strategically. Henzgen’s serve receive also served (no pun
intended) as a strong asset to the team. The combination of him and libero Hurlbut seemed to work to the team’s advantage. The two worked well together,
and they were passing dimes as a result.

While the first game was filled
with many promising plays by Chaminade, their downfall, which led to a score of
25-12 (Harvard Westlake), could be summarized by one word – blocking. Chaminade’s
middles, Grant Gomer and Slater Chesser did provide great blocks and touches,
but the real problem was our block on Harvard Westlake’s pin hitters. When
asked why he thought the game turned out the way it did, Chaminade’s Andy
Slavin replied, “ I think we need to work on our blocking, because we don’t
always get out to the pins, and we’re not really turning balls back into the
court.”

That is exactly the case. We did not see many line shots from Harvard
Westlake, but continued to block line, rather than angle.  This resulted in tools and kills for the
other team.

Despite the tough loss in the first
game, Chaminade seemed to learn from their mistakes. Our blocking
improved vastly which accounted for a closer game. Once again, Chaminade was
stumped by Harvard-Westlake’s cross-court hits, but retaliated with their
strategic hits and tips to the middle of the court. The close game resulted in
an immersed, excited crowd, and while the score of the second game was 25-22 Harvard Westlake, the momentum from this game prepared Chaminade for the
next.

The third game was Chaminade’s last
chance at a win. Although they did suffer quite a loss in the first two games,
the boys picked it up in the third for an even more exciting match filled with
a better understanding of the court, and of Harvard-Westlake’s tendencies.  The game started off in our favor with the
first two points earned similarly with crazy blocks by Chaminade’s Chesser. It seems both Chaminade middles are the go-to guys for blocking. With
a strong start, the game began to go back and forth.  Neither team could hold on to the ball for
long, and a pattern seemed to emerge. Chaminade would score two points, but
Harvard-Westlake would side out right after, resulting in a tight score
throughout the whole game. Near the end, the boys began to give up many tips,
and Harvard took advantage of that. Once again the score was close, 24-20 Harvard-Westlake, but Chaminade just couldn’t pull out a win.

Overall, it seemed Harvard-Westlake
was more of a well-rounded team that was able to identify and take advantage of
Chaminade’s weaknesses. As Chaminade Coach Pono Nuuhiwa said, it’s a matter of
“working hard, and not giving up on themselves.” The potential is there for
Chaminade, but now it is just a matter of execution.

-Sarah Kameli