Victory over the Vikings

Victory over the Vikings

Emily Vu

Boys varsity volleyball beat Lynbrook Vikings 3-1

Despite the large "attending" list on Facebook, promotions and the rivalry, the fan base at the game came up short as sports fans were caught up at home watching the NCAA championship basketball game that was occurring at the same time. However, with  building momentum throughout the game in addition to key plays from junior Ryan Michelfelder and senior Shuang Xu, the boys varsity volleyball team were able to pull out a 3-1 victory against their arch rival, the Lynbrook Vikings, on April 5.

Though the Vikings managed to beat the Matadors 25-21 in the first game of the match due to lack of focus and energy, the Matadors quickly rebounded and raised their morale and won the next three games. Xu admits that the team usually starts off matches slow, the best method of improvement is with playing time.
"[Improvement] just comes with court experience; the more you play on the court, the more you improve. No amount of just hitting the ball will warm you up. It’s just natural playing that will help keep your head in the game,"  Xu said. 

In the second game, the Matadors adjusted strategically to accomodate the injuries of their players, the changes in line-up, and the Viking’s defensive style of play. Senior Krish Rangarajan, although playing with an injured shoulder, was able to tip the ball into key areas on the court for easy points while Michaelfelder dug the ball up from the Viking’s outside hitter’s powerful swings. 
The game ended with the score of 25-21 in the Matador’s favor by a crucial save followed by a sideout to get back possession of ball service.
Rangarajan tipped the ball straight down the middle for the first point in the third game, putting the Matadors in an early lead. Senior setter Charlie Huh then had a key dig that gave Michaelfelder the chance to tip the ball right down the line, putting the Matadors in the lead 6-4. 
Huh tricked the Vikings by faking a set to the middle, allowing Xu to place the ball in the deep right corner of the court and boost the momentum of the team. Xu, with a game total of 14 kills, and Michelfelder, with 13 kills, led the team to a 23-16 lead. However, the Matadors were unable to maintain their excitement and allowed the Vikings to catch up 23-20.
Once the team jumped back into the court after a timeout, Xu placed an untouchable kill followed by a powerful ace to finish off the game 25-20.
In the determining game for the win, the Matadors were able to beat the Vikings 25-15 easily.
After a kill from the Vikings that tied the game up 12-12, the Matadors slowly increased their pace and began to dominate the court. The Matadors set up their double blocks perfectly, which led to countless roofs. Hits and serves were spot on and, by now, the Matadors were fired up and  determined to finish the match. A powerful serve by Xu ended the match 3-1 Matadors.
"Besides the conscious decisions I had to make (the new line-ups and the tactical adjustments), we need to have more energy, more fire, more passion on the court," coach Paul Chiu said.
The Matadors hope to bring the heat when they play Branham High School next on April 7.