On Senior Night, Patriots hold off Trojans 25-14, 25-14, 25-19.
A young, athletic and well-coached Gaithersburg team challenged the Patriots with a strong digging and blocking game for three sets, but the steadying play of Wootton's veterans pushed the hosts toward it's ninth victory of the season without a loss. It was the final regular season home match for Wootton's seniors.
The impact that Michael Ip, Alan Nguyen, Nic Texier and Christopher Wong have had on Wootton's volleyball program is understated, yet far-reaching and significant. The wins have been plenty, but it's their commitment to developing all facets of being excellent teammates that has set the standard for those that will follow in their big footsteps.
Ip, who has played every position on the court, has quietly compiled a record unmatched by any player in the county in the past four years. Including the Gaithersburg win, Ip has contributed to Wootton's 44-1 regular season record since 2009. "Quiet Mike" has never walked away from a challenge, and his teammates are now benefitting from his leadership.
Nguyen, a fierce competitor at middle blocker, has earned the endearing nickname "Jungle Man" and elicits chest-pounding grunts from his teammates for each of his volleyball-pounding kills. No doubt his team rallies behind him on the court, yet his humble approach to success is perhaps most impressive on and off the court.
Texier, one of the county's best middle attackers since he was a sophomore, has been on sidelines in 2012 due to injury. Though the Patriots miss Nic on the court, his encouraging presence at practice, his leadership and his appearance as a "serving specialist" in the Gaithersburg match have energized the team during the home stretch of the season. Should Nic be ready to patrol the nets to complete his senior season, it will be an added bonus to his already-stellar career.
Wong, a terrific all-around player and one of the best defensive players in the county during his career, has been the standard for work ethic at Wootton. Though his focus his senior year has taken him beyond the volleyball court, his presence is felt each time a Wootton player relentlessly pursues the volleyball.
Well done, Seniors. Except, you are not done yet.
The Patriots are on the road to face a tough Springbrook squad on Wednesday, April 25. The boys' match follows the 5:15 pm coed match.