Playing in their sixth match in twelve days, the Patriot boys drew on all resources against visiting Magruder. The Patriots were looking to find the physical and mental strength gained from previous matches and an intense Thursday practice. In the end, it was the team's depth that proved to be its greatest asset.
Eray Wang took charge of the Patriot offense in an effort that showed his poise and skill as a setter. Kevin Wong, Richard Fan, and Max Hu led the Wootton attack; Aaron Yee, Mark Yang, Wensheng Wei, and Zhenyang Zhang performed well in utility roles; Eddie Shi continued to show his development as an excellent back row specialist. Tim and Sam Kim made the most of their unusually-limited playing time in the middle. Team tri-captain Rex Hsu demonstrated his leadership skills in a rare bench role.
The Patriots sported a new lineup that demanded each player to make adjustments to his role. Of particular note, senior tri-captain Max Hu stepped into a starting role and raised the team's energy level with his best all-around performance of the season.
The Patriots will need to sustain it's energy level for its remaining matches of the regular season against two of the top teams in the county, Blair and Rockville. The match at Blair on Monday evening, April 28 follows the 5:15 coed match.
The Wootton boys needed no extra motivation leading up to their match with rival Churchill. In a well-attended match, preceded by a Wootton victory over Churchill in the Coed match, the Patriots and Bulldogs played evenly for the first two games until Churchill's multiple weapons wore down the Patriot resolve in the third game.
The Patriots will compete for the sixth time in 12 days against Magruder at home on Friday evening, April 25.
A student-athlete's commitment to a team is often supported by dedicated parents. Wootton's boys volleyball team is no exception. This year, team parents have given their time, rearranged their schedules, provided general and technical assistance, and supported the team in valuable ways. Thank you very much for:
- Keeping lines of communication open
- Driving the team to away matches
- Providing words of encouragement
- Photographing each match (Thank you Mrs. & Mr. Yee!)
- Cheering us on
And......everything you do at home to raise a terrific student, volleyball player, and person of character!
Two close five game matches in a row...both losses. Time for a primal scream:
The Vikings put up a strong block and dug many of the Patriots hits for a come-from-behind victory. The good news for the Patriots: Everyone got to play.
Next up: Churchill at home on Wednesday, April 23.
Sports memories -- and fantasies -- are constructed and revealed in different forms. For baseball fans, it's bottom of the ninth and two out with the base loaded. For football, it's the final two minute drill driving for a victory. In soccer, it's a tie score in overtime heading toward a shootout. Whatever sport you happen to enjoy playing, or watching, or cheering on your favorite team, you know when something special is happening on the field of play. Your hands sweat, your heart races, your emotions flip-flop with every turn and twist. And in the end, the difference between winning and losing can be measured by the widest grins, the weight in a pair of cupped hands supporting a bowed head, energy renewed by celebration, and heartbreak consoled only by time and reflection.
Crosstown rivals Richard Montgomery and Wootton battled on the volleyball court in a five game match on Friday, April 18. The winner is the first to take three games. Play to 25 points and, if necessary, a fifth game to 15. Win each game by two points. High school boys competing on a warm Friday evening, with nothing at stake but for the sake of sport. During the course of the two-and-a-half hour match, the temperature and intensity in Wootton's gym grew with each volley.
The Rockets of Richard Montgomery got the upper hand behind a relentless defensive performance...refusing to allow the ball to drop on their side of the net without an all-out effort. The Patriots, playing at home, played through several adverse situations with a level of intensity--fueled with emotion--that came directly from the gut.
And with both teams performing admirably when facing gut check, back-against-the-wall moments, the winner turned out to be the sport of volleyball. Boys Volleyball. Montgomery County Boys High School Volleyball.
If you weren't in Wootton's gym on Friday, April 18 between 6:30 pm and 9:00 pm, you missed a heck of a match. And perhaps more significantly, for those that were there, it was an opportunity to see young student-athletes grow, even if just a smidgen.
Congratulations Rockets and Coach Matlock. You are true sportsmen. And to the Patriots...you can be proud of being part of something worth remembering (especially by your coach...who is very proud of you!).
Wootton Boys Volleyball 2008
The boys from Wootton hit the road again for a division match against a big, athletic Wheaton squad that featured a couple of the hardest hitters the Patriots have seen this year. Wootton prepared for the match expecting Wheaton to be aggressive on their attack, and that proved to be true. Wheaton had an impressive hitting game; what was perhaps more impressive is the fact that many of their players (some football and basketball players) will return next year. Expect big things from Wheaton!
The Patriots responded with a solid serving and passing game, and the hitting of Matt Jasnoff. In perhaps his best performance to date, Jasnoff led the Wootton attack in the absense of one of Wootton's top hitters, Kevin Wong.
Aaron Yee and Richard Fan directed the offense in games 1 and 4. Eray Wang was impressive directing the offense in games 2 an 3 with a lineup that had not yet played together this year. Sam Kim, Tim Kim and Rex Hsu once again led the Patriots in the middle, and Wensheng Wei and Max Hu played well on the outside. Libero Eddie Shi picked up the Patriot defense with his digging and passing.
The Patriots return home against cross-town rival Richard Montgomery in a critical division matchup. Be sure to catch the entire double header, featuring an impressive Wootton Coed squad (with players from the State runner-up girls team). The Coed match begins at 5:15 pm, followed by the Patriot and Rocket boys.
There was one question on the Patriots' minds that needed to be answered after the loss against Walter Johnson, five days between matches and a couple of competitive practices: Is the team getting better? The answer came in the form of a balanced, business-like performance on Seneca Valley's home court that revealed yet another characteristic of a developing team.
Kevin Wong, Richard Fan, and Matt Jasnoff led the Patriot attack in games 1 and 2, with Aaron Yee and Fan directing the offense. Rex Hsu, Wensheng Wei and Eddie Shi provided good passing, and Sam Kim was a formidable force in the middle.
Game three featured a Patriot lineup that consistently plays well. Eray Wong was outstanding directing a balanced attack with Sam Kim, Tim Kim, Max Hu, Mark Wong attacking, and Wensheng Wei, Eddie Shi and Zhengyeng Zhang leading the passing game.
The Patriots continue on the road against the Wheaton Knights on Wednesday, April 16. Gaame time is 3:30 pm, followed by the Coed match.
The Wootton boys knew going in to their match against Walter Johnson that they would be facing a tall, athletic, more experienced team led by one of the elite players in Montgomery County. It was a match that the Wootton team looked forward to as a measure of how far the team had progressed since practice began in early March. Walter Johnson is a talented team with solid fundamentals and offensive firepower, and gave Wootton a taste of the level of play needed to compete for championships. Despite the loss, Wootton competed with a higher level of intensity than it had in its first three matches of the season.
Richard Fan and Aaron Yee led the Patriot offense with their setting; except for a few stretches, Wootton's passing game was solid, and its defensive effort was the best so far this season. Good all-around performances by Kevin Wong, Matt Jasnoff, and Rex Hsu kept the Patriots in the match, while Eddie Shi, Wensheng Wei, Tim Kim and Sam Kim provided specialized skills in specific rotations.
The challenge now is to apply the lessons learned to focus upcoming practices, and respond with a more informed perspective and the level of intensity needed to compete at a higher level. The Patriots hit the road on Monday, April 14 for a match at Seneca Valley. Game time is 5:15 pm, followed by the Coed match.
The Patriots traveled to Gaithersburg to take on a sizeable and athletic Gaithersburg team on their home turf. Patriot setters Eray Wang, Richard Fan and Aaron Yee performed admirably while adjusting to several different lineups, and led the offense to its best effort to date. Matt Jasnoff, Kevin Wong, Wensheng Wei and Max Hu led the attackers; Rex Hsu, Zhengyeng Zhang, Mark Yang and Eddy Shi provided effective passing; Sam and Tim Kim led the Patriot net game. Highlights included a come-from-behind victory in game three.
The Patriots continue their divisional play at home on Wednesday, April 9 against Walter Johnson. The boys game starts at 5:15 pm, followed by the Coed match.
In its first home match of the season, the Wootton boys volleyball team looked to sharpen its performance against an athletic Einstein team. The Patriots controlled the ball well on its side of the net and served aggressively while reducing errors.
Zhenyang Zhang, Rex Hsu, Max Hu, Matt Jasnoff and Kevin Wong performed well at the net; Eddy Shi, Wensheng Wei and Kevin Wong led the passing game; Rex Hsu, Tim Kim and Sam Kim put up solid blocks; Wensheng Wei and Rex Hsu offered excellent utility play; Aaron Yee and Mark Yang contributed to a well-balanced Patriot attack.
Wootton's three setters, Richard Fan, Eray Wang, and Aaron Yee, took turns running the offense.
The Patriots travel to Gaithersburg on Monday, April 7 for an intra-division matchup against the Trojans. The match begins at 5:15 pm, followed by the Coed match.
Facing the nervousness that teams typically must contend with in their first game of the season, the Wootton boys responded well to the challenge during their away match at Blake. The Patriots started slowly and played tentatively in the first game, and were fortunate to come out on top, 25-19. The Patriots picked up the intensity, led by Eddy Shi's serving, in the second game on the way to a 25-9 final score. The third game featured a new Patriot lineup designed to work on specific strategies, with the result again in Wootton's favor, 25-8.
Patriot setters Richard Fan, Eray Wang, and Aaron Yee led the offense; Rex Hsu and Wensheng Wei provided solid passing; Matt Jasnoff, Kevin Wong, Zenyang Zhang, and Mark Yang led the attackers; Tim and Sam Kim led the team in blocking; and the serving game was led by Eddy Shi and Aaron Yee.
Each of the Wootton players saw action. With the first game jitters hopefully out of the way, and with each player having gained valuable game experience, the Patriots look forward to their next game when they return home to face Einstein on Thursday, April 3, 2008.