A Newsletter for the Wootton High School Boys Volleyball Community


Wootton Holds Off Gaithersburg

Patriots top Trojans 25-16, 25-18, 25-11

The MCPS boys volleyball season runs from the beginning of March through the second week in May. Add one month to the season and Gaithersburg would be in the thick of the race for the championship. The Trojans are a well-coached squad featuring good athletes, some who excel in basketball and soccer. They put up an imposing block, hustle, and cover the court well on defense. Wootton was facing a Gaithersburg team that is much better than it's record.

The Patriots pulled together enough to win to improve to 10-0 for the season.

The Patriots return home for the final regular season match on Monday, May 3 against Poolesville. Wootton seniors Zo Asmail, Kevin Liang, Tony Malinauskas, Xinyuan Wang and Clayton Zhang will be recognized for their contributions to Wootton Volleyball.


On the Road Again, Wootton Brushes Back Paint Branch, 3-0

Patriots top Panthers 25-12, 25-14, 25-12

Wootton took the bus 15 miles across Montgomery County from Rockville to Burtonsville. For the first time this season, the team rode the school bus to an away match. It's an experience traveling on a school bus. Consider:
  • From the higher perch of the bus seats, it is possible to see farther ahead and behind, beyond what is typical from a car or bicycle or on foot. It's easier to anticipate what lies ahead.
  • The driver uses skills and tools to be aware of what's happening in the blind spots directly surrounding the bus.
  • The bus is larger and carries a heavier load, sometimes making it more difficult to be agile in traffic.
  • The payload is priceless.

Based on it's season record to date, Wootton is perched high in the Montgomery County boys volleyball standings. The Patriots can see clearly where the team has been, and can look further down the road toward their destination and see some of the obstacles in the way. But, the team must be aware of the blind spots that can make a sudden and immediate impact.

One obstacle was Paint Branch, which has a history of success with its volleyball teams. The Panthers have the formula for success: talented players, good coaching and model sportsmanship. Having clinched a playoff spot, the Patriots saw an opportunity at Paint Branch to develop a few new lineups that will draw on the team's strength--it's depth and agility--to prepare for the blind spots and make a run deep into the playoffs.  Determined not to be weighed down by its success through the first eight matches, the Patriots showed it's agility against a tall, athletic Panther squad.

Setters Aaron Yee (Jr.), Eray Wang (Jr.) and Justin Fowler (Fr.) led a balanced Patriot offense that kept the pressure on the Panther defense, which was relentless in digging and returning Wootton's hits. Mark Yang(Jr.), Jeffrey Qiu (Fr.) and Eric Zhang (So.) stepped into the starting lineup and had outstanding all-round performances. Nicolas Texier (So.) and Christopher Wong (So.) continue their outstanding seasons at the net and in the back row, respectively. Libero Michael Ip (So.) asserted himself as a steady defensive specialist, and Elliott Liu (Jr.) used his quick arm swing to power the Patriots down the stretch in set three.

A good win is worth the bumpy 15 mile bus ride. The route the Patriots took to get there will go a long way toward delivering the season's (priceless?) payload.

The Patriots take a hop, skip and a jump up MD 355 to visit Gaithersburg in a 5:15 pm match
on Monday, April 26. (photo credit: Natalia Yee)


Patriots' Resolve Earns 3-0 Win Over Colonels

Considered to be founding fathers of Montgomery County, Thomas Sprigg Wootton and Colonel Zadok Magruder were among a group of ten local patriots that met at Charles Hungerford's tavern on June 11, 1774 in what is now Rockville to pass the Hungerford Resolves. By signing the Resolves, Wootton and Maguder joined in a growing solidarity movement to resist British government policies in the colonies. Wootton's and Magruder's local contributions to the movement, along with similar acts across the colonies, eventually led to the signing of the Declaration of Independence two years later in 1776.

Following in their namesakes' footsteps (OK... that's a looooong stretch) the Wootton and Magruder High School boys volleyball teams met not in a tavern to resist tyranny, but in a gymnasium to keep volleyballs from hitting the floor. They met not out of solidarity for their fellow colonists suffering from the British blockade of the Boston Harbor, but to put up their own blocks against volleyballs spiked at 70 miles per hour. And the match would not lead to a Declaration of Independence, but a declaration of winner between the MCPS White Division Co-Champs (Magruder) and the Gold Division Champs (Wootton).

Thomas Sprigg Wootton's boys got the upper hand in this one over the Colonels, 25-11, 25-11, 25-10. This one is now in the history books (or blogosphere or online forum chatter). With the win, the Patriots improve to 8-0 on the season.

Next up, Wootton travels to face Paint Branch on Friday, April 23 in a 5:15 pm match (NOTE TIME CHANGE FROM 7PM).


Wootton Wins Gold Division Title With Win Over Kennedy

Patriots top Cavaliers 25-15, 25-23, 25-18

Wootton and Kennedy knew what was at stake. It wasn't a pair of eyeglasses, or national pride, or the claim to be "King of the Beach." It was match played on a pleasant Friday night in April in a high school gym in front of a few dozen spectators, far away from the more popular images of the world's #2 participation sport: beach players on the sand courts of sunny southern California; the international pageantry of Olympic venues; the high school gym class or company picnic where egos and eyeglasses are put at risk by the overzealous "power volleyball" ringer.

The MCPS Gold Division title was at stake. The winner clinches a playoff spot. Simple.

The Wootton boys were up for the task, and pulled out a victory, but not without plenty of fight and hustle from the Kennedy boys. Wootton tested a few variations in it's lineup, and incorporated a strategic use of substitutions to draw strength from it's depth. The team executed the game plan with intelligence and composure, a step forward as the Patriots prepare for the home stretch of the regular season and playoffs.

So, a few dozen fans saw Wootton win a second consecutive division title. The match was not played in the most glamorous of volleyball venues, but was arguably truer to the origins of the sport that grew out of the YMCAs of Springfield, Pittsburgh and Chicago and spread throughout the world by American GIs stationed overseas. And as any volleyball fan knows after being a part of a good high school match, it is no wonder why volleyball is the world's #2 participation sport.

The Patriots put their unbeaten season (7-0 match, 21-0 set record) on the line against White Division front-runner Magruder at home on Monday, April 19 at 7:00 pm. The Gold Division-winning Wootton Coed team plays Marguder at 5:15 pm.


Wootton Tops Churchill 3-0

Patriots sweep Bulldogs 25-13, 25-9, 25-23

The Patriots were on the road again to face rival Churchill in a Gold Division match. As with any rivalry, the outcome is always in question when emotion, adrenaline, and bragging rights come into play. At the halfway point into the 2010 season, both teams were ready to compete.

For Wootton, sets one and two highlighted a balanced attack with Aaron Yee setting Tony Malinauskas, Clayton Zhang, Nic Texier, and Jeffrey Qiu. Eray Wang had his best match of the season in the setter/swing hitter position. Chistopher Wong, Michael Ip and Justin Fowler led the Patriot passing and back row defense.

Of note was an exciting set three that featured the steady play of setter Justin Fowler. Fowler directed an offense that had Jeffrey Qiu and Eric Zhang in the middle, Chris Wong, Elliott Liu and Mark Yang on the outside. Yang led the Patriots in serving with several key aces down the stretch as Wootton held off a Churchill rally.

The Patriots complete their division play at home on Friday, April 16 at 5:15 pm against Kennedy in a match that will determine the division championship.


Wootton Earns Road Win at Northwest

Patriots top Jaguars 25-10, 25-17, 25-9; Season Record at 5-0.

In the the 1959 Alfred Hitchcock film North by Northwest, an innocent man traverses a north-northwest route to shake loose agents of a mysterious organization in a case of mistaken identity. Ultimately he prevails, but not without action and suspense. Fifty-one years later, in a Gold Division matchup, the Wootton boys headed north along Great Seneca Highway to Northwest High School with their 2010 identity at stake. After the action was complete, Wootton came out on top of a gritty Northwest team, but not without suspense, and kept its season identity in tact.

The Cast: Aaron Yee, Tony Malinauskas and Kevin Liang played outstanding all-around games for the Patriots. Clayton Zhang, Nic Texier and Eric Zhang were solid in the middle. Justin Fowler and Eray Wang added good utility play at the setter/swing hitter position, while Elliot Liu and Mark Yang and Jeffrey Qui demonstrated their versatility in specialized roles. Michael Ip steadied the Wootton passing game at libero.

With the win, the Patriots improved their season record to 5-0 (3-0 Gold Division) and set record to 15-0.

The Patriots go on the road again (this time traveling south) to meet rival Churchill on Wednesday, April 14. Match time is 5:15 pm.


Wootton Tops Northwood; Season Record at 4-0

Patriots Sweep Gladiators, 25-7, 25-11, 25-11.

Playing in the second of six matches during a 12 day stretch, the Wootton boys met Northwood in a contest that had playoff implications. The winner earns a step up in the race for the Gold Division title, which assures a spot in the playoffs. The outcome of each set could be a determining factor in playoff seeding. With that in mind, the Patriots went to work.

Aarron Yee, Tony Malinauskas and Kevin Liang carried the offensive load for the Patriots in the first set. Eray Wang and Christopher Wong added precision passing; Nic Texier and Clayton Zhang patrolled the net.

In set two, Justin Fowler led a versatile lineup of Jeffrey Qiu, Eric Zhang, Malinauskas, Wong and Yee. Michael Ip had a solid game at libero, while Mark Yang came off the bench to push the Patriots to 25.

Set three featured a left-handed offense for one rotation, with Fowler directing the action feeding southpaws Elliott Liu and Yang on their strong side in the middle and right side. Qiu, Eric Zhang and Chris Wong played solid all-around games.

The patriots hit the road again on Monday, April 12 at 5:15 pm against Northwest in another Gold Division match.


Wootton Wins on Road at Rockville

Patriots top Rams 25-14, 25-16, 25-18

In a game where Nic Texier unleashed the "spike block" and Clayton Zhang's "stylin' serve" ultimately scored an ace, the Wootton boys shook off the Spring Break cob webs against a tough Rockville team in a MCPS Gold Division matchup.

With the win, Wootton improved its season record to 3-0 and, with wins over the two other high schools within the corporate boundaries of Rockville, claimed the mythical City of Rockville "championship", which ultimately proves to be meaningless except to those of us that make up such things when a family member plays for a rival City of Rockville school.

Tony Malinauskas and Aaron Yee were outstanding with their all-around playmaking abilities. The two demonstrated once again why they were selected to the All-Gazette Team last year. In the meantime, Kevin Liang is quietly establishing himself as a top hard-hitting outside hitter that will consistently score points for the Patriots. Clayton Zhang and Nic Texier (yes, the famous ones..see first paragraph), along with Eric Zhang and Jeffrey Qiu, trolled the middle and outside looking for volleyballs to crunch, stuff, wreak havoc upon, etc. Eray Wang, Justin Fowler, Elliott Liu and Mark Yang balanced the Wootton side with their strong passing, utility and defensive play. Christopher Wong and Michael Ip kept the floor clean of volleyballs in strong back row performances.

But it wasn't easy. Rockville has perhaps the best digging team Wootton has faced. The Rams' defensive hustle, along with their big hitters, form the basis of a formidable, talented team that should challenge for the MCPS championship. With temperatures outside topping 90 degrees, the gym was warm, but Wootton was able to go deep into its bench to keep fresh legs on the court, which perhaps was the key to victory in a hard fought match.

The Patriots return home on Friday, April 9 at 5:15 pm against Northwood in another division matchup.