"It's not so important who starts the game but who finishes it"
Former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden
Wootton started it's match against Blake High School playing as solid a game as it has all year, with passes on target, tough serving, smart setting and an agressive attack. The patriots jumped out to a large lead in set one and never looked back. It was a complete team effort that put a measure of success on the Patriots preparation for the previously 6-0 Bengals, who were a half game ahead of the Patriots in the race for the division championship. But volleyball matches do not end after one set.
In set 2, the Patriots again jumped out to an early lead, but Blake fought back, showing signs that set one was an anomaly. The Bengals are a good defensive team and were able to dig some of Wootton's hard hit balls and force errors on Wootton's side of the net. Though the Patriots pulled away at the end to go up 2-0, the Bengals were warming up to the competition.
BONG! You can almost hear the bell that rings when Rocky Balboa takes Apollo Creed beyond the third round and the realization sets in that this was going to be a heck of a boxing match. Set three was a serve against serve, point to point matchup that was deadlocked at 18 all when the Patriots had to dig deeper to deliver the final punches to secure the match victory.
So, the important thing about in this match was how both teams finished, with Blake showing the athleticism and competitive spirit that has put them near the top of MCPS volleyball this spring, and with Wootton showing it's strength through adversity. And in the end, it was a battle between two of the three remaining unbeaten teams. And at the final whistle, Wootton took the upper hand for the division crown; but a possible meeting in the playoffs should be an interesting rematch.
Wootton takes on a talented team when perennial powerhouse Sherwood visits on Wednesday, April 18. The first serve is scheduled to take place 30 minutes after the end of the 5:15 pm coed match.