Patriots claw past Northwest Jaguars 25-17, 25-17, 25-11.
The stage was set for the Wootton-Northwest rematch in the quarterfinals of the MCPS playoffs. Since their meeting on April 4 (a 3-0 Wootton victory), the Jaguars had won 7 of 8 matches in convincing fashion, dropping only a close five set match against Clarksburg. Coach Rob Smith's team is one of the most athletic (and tallest) teams in the county. Obviously well-coached, the Jags are tough, physical opponent that gave Wootton fits at the net during the first match.
The Wootton bandwagon was riding a 13 match win streak, but this time, with the season now on the line, each team's challenge was set.
Wootton had been experimenting with a variety of lineups all season long, going as deep as 15 players in most matches. Throughout the regular season, however, a key to the Patriots' success was the leadership and resolve of the three seniors: Mark Yang, Eray Wang and Aaron Yee. Each has proved to be a steadying force for a young team with high expectations of itself.
So, with Yang, Wang and Yee leading the way, the Patriots played their most complete match of the season, responding to a strong Jaguar block and attack.
With the win, Wootton advances to the semifinals against a talented and favored Blair team (see season preview http://www.gazette.net/gazettecms/story.php?id=2673 and "Blair Boys ...again reigning supreme" http://www.gazette.net/gazettecms/story.php?id=2810) Blair team that features two All-County players and several of the top club players on the East Coast. The match will be played in Wootton's gym on Tuesday, May 10. First serve is set for 6 pm.