Wootton defeats Paint Branch 25-12, 25-14, 25-6
A starting lineup with one freshman (Henry Shu) and four sophomores (Richard Hum, Adam Kaplan, Ethan Frymark and Mark Pang) may keep a coach on the edge of the bench or pacing along the sidelines, but that was not the case in Wootton's inter-division match against Paint Branch. With junior Cary Chin taking on quarterback duties as setter and Benjamin Wang providing a spark with his back row play, the young Patriots stepped in the limelight and introduced themselves as the promising future of Wootton volleyball.
Scratch that. The young Patriots introduced themselves to the fans as the players who are talented to give the veteran Wootton players a challenge every day in practice....now.
Joining the young guys on the court for the first two sets was first year player Aaron Krotman, a senior who has worked his way from the football field to green volleyball player to red hot middle hitter to make an impact on Wootton's early season success. Hum and Pang were impressive on defense, passing and hitting on the left side. Frymark has showed remarkable progress as a first year middle hitter, while Shu has showed spots of brilliance in each of the essential skills. Kaplan has changed his hockey skates to court shoes and anchored the Patriots power play at the net and serving line. Chin took charge of running the offense with confidence earned from playing at a consistent high level.
Of note: After a 5 point Panther run at the start of set two, the young Patriots rebounded with a high level of intensity--and fun--to close out the set with strong serving and hitting. Freshman Justin Wu joined in on the victory in the back row.
Wootton's veterans Justin Fowler, Jeffrey Qiu, Henry Zhou, Charles Wang, Ben Wang and Paul Malinauskas, along with Hum and Krotman, led the Patriots to victory in set three. Kaplan came off the bench to stick a few serves and freshman setter Wu and blocker Aleks Psurek closed out the match.
Though the Wootton veterans did not play as much, their impact was in full view as the younger guys displayed the skills and intensity they have picked up playing with and against talented veteran players every day in practice.
Wootton plays next at home against Walter Johnson in a division match-up on Monday, April 15. First serve is scheduled for 5:15 pm.