A Newsletter for the Wootton High School Boys Volleyball Community


Wootton Boys Varsity Volleyball Team Earns AVCA Team Academic Award

Malinauskas named MoCo Player of the Year; Chin and Wang named to All-County Team.

The Spring 2014 Wootton boys volleyball team has earned the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) Team Academic Award.  We're one of only 27 high school boys teams to be honored with this national award for excellence in the classroom (a team GPA of 3.3 / 4.0 or above).

This is the second consecutive year that the Wootton Varsity Boys Volleyball Team has earned this award.

The AVCA press release is below. The list of schools receiving the award can be found on the AVCA website here:  http://www.avca.org/awards/team-academic-award/

This award and a memorable 15-0 championship season affirm the success of Wootton's athletic program, and the boys are fine examples of the student-athlete ideal.  Seniors Paul Malinauskas (Player of the Year), Cary Chin and Ben Wang (All-County) were recognized by The Gazette Newspapers for their outstanding performances during the 2014 season. See http://www.gazette.net/article/20140528/SPORTS/140529151/1023/1023/2014-all-gazette-boys-8217-volleyball&template=gazette

Congratulations to:

Seniors: Cary Chin, David Li, Paul Malinauskas, Benjamin Wang

Juniors:  Jeremy Chung, Ethan Frymark, Adam  Kaplan, Andrew Merchant, Mark Pang, Robert Severynse

Sophomores:  James Ho, Henry Shu, Justin Wu, Nathan Xie

Freshmen: Victor de Avila, Renato Omar Nunez

Managers: Timothy Chang, Max Jin, David Juhnn, Noah Ru

2013-2014 Press Release

AVCA Breaks Another Record With 686 Teams Honored for Academic Excellence
Total overrides the previous mark of 623 schools set in 2012-13

LEXINGTON, Ky. (August 4, 2014) - The American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA) announced today that 684 teams have earned the AVCA Team Academic Award for the 2013-2014 season. This number once again breaks the previous year's total of 623 and sets a new all-time high for this award.  

The award, which was initiated in the 1992-93 academic year, honors collegiate and high school volleyball teams that displayed excellence in the classroom during the school year by maintaining at least a 3.30 cumulative team grade-point average on a 4.0 scale or a 4.10 cumulative team GPA on a 5.0 scale.

"Too often athletic participation is associated with academic underachievement and this stereotype is simply false when it comes to volleyball," said AVCA Executive Director Kathy DeBoer. "Couple the smarts represented by these teams with the competitive experience and team-focused training gained on the court and we have a potent formula for future leadership! What a significant contribution that is by their coaches and schools."

The AVCA Team Academic Award has become one of the AVCA's fastest growing awards programs, seeing an impressive surge in teams honored over the past several years. Since the 2000-2001 season, the number of recipients have increased every single year but one, while amassing an overall 500% increase over the span of the last decade. Since the award's inception in 1993, the amount of award winners has increased from 62 to its current number of 684.

NCAA Division I recorded their highest-ever total number of recipients, honoring 136 programs while NCAA Division II also set a new record by reaching a total of 95 honorees. NCAA Division III continues to set new records after 129 schools take home the honor with the Two-Year College category also surpassing their previous high of 16 with 23.

Prior to 2013-2014, only 18 teams had attained the pinnacle of volleyball success in both earning the AVCA Team Academic Award and winning their respective collegiate national championship in the same academic year. This year, the AVCA is proud to recognize four programs that excelled in the classroom and on the court: Concordia University, St. Paul (NCA Division II), Calvin College (NCAA Division III), Cowley County Community College (NJCAA Division II) and Clearwater Christian College (NCCAA Division II).

Over 1,000 different schools have earned the award in the program's 22-year history, with exactly 6,126 awards been given out in total. Additionally, there were six programs to earn recognition in the inaugural sand category.


2014 Championship: Wootton Patriots Complete 15-0 Championship Season

Wootton and Clarksburg played an exciting four-set championship match. Wootton squeaked by with the win 25-23, 25-20, 23-25, 25-18.

Here is the local newspaper article about the match:


Congratulations to all MCPS boys volleyball teams on a well-played, competitive season!


A Jolly Good Time Playing Mintonette

Wootton wins semifinal match against Richard Montgomery 25-23, 25-22, 25-19.

May 8, (sometime in the last 119 years)

A fair crowd  witnessed the sporting young men of the Richard Montgomery and Wootton academic institutions compete on the Wootton campus this evening in the activity called "Mintonette."  Gentlemen from each illustrious institution took to the rectangular court to trade possession of a ball across a net strung higher than the usual height of outstretched arms of any of the participants. The exhibition was a fine one, and made for a jolly evening.

In "Mintonette" the points occur when gravity wins the battle against attempts to bump the ball into the air and over the net. Upon the event of the ball touching the floor (forced at times from one side of the net to the other, usually by a tall or high-jumping smasher), the team unencumbered by gravity's victory is awarded the point.

The Patriot-men of Wootton scored seventy-five points in all during the athletic contest and then no more, compared with the sixty-four points scored by the Richard Montgomerians. It had been decided upon beforehand to section the game into equal point-scoring parts whereby a milestone of twenty-five points would become the objective for each school to reach first. The Wootton mintonetters and their followers were jubilant upon reaching the twenty-five point threshold first on three consecutive sections, thereby having bestowed upon them the privilege of playing another contest before breaking for the summer growing season.

The formidable tasks at hand for each side proved to be a rigorous challenge and induced the kind of thirst that could dry a well during a rain storm. A well-earned sarsaparilla (in packs of six) could be the reward for each unit's exhaustive efforts on behalf of their schoolmates.

The Wootton-eers, upon hearing of the success of the Clarksburg school to the north and their fine squadron of mintonetters, will engage in another friendly  game that has been arranged for the Tuesday (May 13) following this weekend's chores and studies. That contest will begin at 5:00pm inside the gymnasium of Colonel Zadok Magruder's namesake school.

The Wootton "Mintonetters"

2014 Playoffs: Semifinal Results

Results of semifinal matches on May 8, 2014:
#1 Wootton defeated #5 Richard Montgomery 3-0
#2 Clarksburg defeated #3 Wheaton 3-1

On Tuesday, May 13, Wootton and Clarksburg will play for the Boys Volleyball County Championship at Magruder High School at 5:00 pm


Learning and Coaching

When you were learning to ride a bicycle, what drills did your bicycle coach make you do?

John Kessel, USA Volleyball's Director of Sport Development who was recently inducted into the American Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame, has had an impact on my approach to coaching. Kessel says:
"When I teach clinics for both coaches and parents, I reference what other great learning/motor skill/leadership development things that happen in our kids lives, have happening - music teachers (including private ones who get paid per hour), voice teachers, dance instructors, directors of plays, etc - they are quite involved in training, but once the show goes on, you do NOT see them screaming from the audience what should be happening, or calling time outs. They just take notes for the next training. They get paid lots of money to teach/train, but when the performance happens, they sit back and prepare for the next place they can really influence, the next practice. "

Jurgen Klinsmann, the US Men's National Soccer Team Coach, has this to say: 
“When you talk to coaches and parents, it’s very difficult for them sometimes to understand that the kid is essentially self-taught. Coaches are really just more the inspiration of the whole thing — the guide, in a certain way. But he’s not the decision maker on the field. This is a very different approach. Parents and coaches think they are making the decisions. I tell them, no, you’re not making the decision. The decision is made by the kid on the field. So maybe here and there you should just shut up and let the kid figure it out.”
Another illustration of these points:

SNL--High School Chess Coach from Kevin Kelton on Vimeo.

I chew gum during matches to release my own competitive energy. The team will default to their level of training and preparation in many cases. Win or lose, game day is a good way to assess the impact of the training. The process of learning continues.


The Wingmen

Wootton edges Churchill in quarterfinal match 25-21, 25-21, 25-15.

A few of "The Wingmen."  
Tuesday, May 8, 2014.

The Wingman has your back. The Wingman protects the lead. The Wingman's offers mutual support to teammates on and off the court.  The Wingman adds offensive and defensive firepower. The Wingman brings awareness to predictable and unforeseen situations.  The Wingman improves the quality of production, and puts the team in a position to use more dynamic tactics.

Ahhh, but when does The Wingman get the credit?  Good question.

The Wingman draws satisfaction from the team's performance knowing that their contributions of preparation and presence are the keys to the team's success. Credit doesn't matter, does it?

When the value of The Wingman is publicly recognized, it is well-deserved, but The Wingman knows where to deliver the credit:  To teammates. To parents. To those who came before. To the respected opponent (e.g. Churchill). To the blessings of opportunity.

Wootton's Wingmen show up in the practice gym each day. On game day they play on the court and stand ready on the bench and cheer from the stands. They challenge from the opposing side of the net. They schedule the season the summer before, coordinate officials, and compile results. They collect admission at the door, pay the bills and purchase equipment. They officiate.  They keep score. They work the concession stand. They shag volleyballs. They photograph. They drive to away matches. And so on.

The Wingmen make volleyball happen at Wootton. To their credit, the team plays another day this season.

Wootton hosts Richard Montgomery in the semifinals on Thursday, May 8 at 5:30 pm.

2014 Playoffs: Quarterfinal Results

Quarterfinal results from Tuesday, May 6:

#1 Wootton defeated #9 Churchill 3-0#2 Clarksburg defeated #7 Sherwood 3-0#3 Wheaton defeated 36 BCC 3-1#5 Richard Montgomery defeated #4 Magruder 3-0

The semifinal matches on Thursday, May 8 will be:

#5 Richard Montgomery (11-2) at #1 Wootton (13-0) at 5:30 pm#3 Wheaton (12-1) at #2 Clarksburg (13-0) at 5:30 pm


2014 Playoffs: Round 1 Results

Here are the first round results from May 1/2:

#1 Wootton defeats #16 Blair 3-0
#2 Clarksburg defeats #15 Gaithersburg 3-0
#3 Wheaton defeats #14 Quince Orchard 3-0
#4 Magruder defeats #13 Northwest 3-0
#5 Richard Montgomery defeats #12 Walter Johnson 3-0
#6 BCC defeats #11 Rockville 3-0
#7 Sherwood defeats #10 Kennedy 3-0
Reminder the Churchill/Poolesville match is tomorrow.

The quarterfinals of the playoffs are on May 6 as follows:
#9 Churchill at #1 Wootton, 5:30 pm
#7 Sherwood at #2 Clarksburg at 5:30 pm
#6 BCC at #3 Wheaton at 5:30 pm
#5 Richard Montgomery at #4 Magruder at 6:00 pm

The semi-finals take place on May 8. The MCPS Championship is on May 13.


Wishful Thinking About Volleyball and Stuff

Wootton advances with playoff win against Blair 25-11, 25-15, 25-16.

Note: Need new clipboard. Add to wish list.

Got a bunch of lists going. Some are on scraps of paper. Others find there way to the trash can. There are to do lists and top ten lists and lists that get shorter and list that get longer.

A few random items got added to the wish list, which always seems to be getting longer. Let's take a moment to review some of the wish list, in no particular order:
  • World peace and an end to hunger.
  • A time machine to visit George Washington to show him how to "gator" a volleyball and hear him scream "IT'S UP!!" 
  • Water served from pitchers with ice behind the bench to thirsty volleyball players, just to add a classy touch to the volleyball show.
  • To always be nice to the nice because it is nice (to paraphrase M*A*S*H character Colonel Blake).
  • Video with instant replay and also limited "instant preview" to optimize rotation matchups.
  • More opportunities to play volleyball for everyone who wants to play, and for everyone else, too, because they don't yet know they want to play.
  • Greater appreciation for the art in sport and the sport in art. Examples: 1) Volleyballs are great objects for d├ęcoupage; 2) Training for the movement and form of volleyball transitions has an element of improvisation in its choreography.
  • Rain in amounts less than 5 inches per day.
  • A "gravity release" button and/or arm extenders... at least for aging players.
  • Whistles with an extra set of eyes. An R2 for more boys volleyball matches would support game management and promote learning opportunities similar to the fall girls season. Expensive whistles, I know.
  • Pens that don't run out of ink during the match.
  • Cushioned seats for the parents sitting on the bleachers.
  • Checklists with a bunch of check marks next to all the items that need to be completed to make everything right.

And so on. Feel free to add to the list. We have more time to address these and more. The season has been extended to the second round of playoffs on Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Wootton will play the winner of Poolesville/Churchill. Time TBA.


If There Is No Such Thing as Volleyball

Wootton wins at Blake 25-16, 25-16, 25-16.
Blake honors their seniors on Senior Night

What if there is no such thing as volleyball?

800 million people would need to find something else to do, including 46 million Americans.

Wootton High School would currently have one less 11-0 team this year.

Blake senior Dunchadhn Lyons would still be going to Stanford to play soccer.

"7 feet 11 5/8 inches" would lose all meaning, and there would be less incentive to jump.

Who is William Morgan? I don't know. Some dude.

Spiketown, a fictional place that a hitter claims to go to when he/she gets an impressive kill that bounces very high and no one can return, would just be a fictional place. Or a real place.

This would not happen:

Would be volleyballers could catch a ball...and throw it... without feeling guilty.

Anyone up for a game of beach basketball?

Pancakes are MMMMM good. Don't ruin them with bouncing balls. That is all.

With no ball or net, members of the Wootton boys volleyball team would look very silly diving and jumping and shuffling and swinging their arms every day in the gym from 3 pm to 5 pm.

The Wootton boys coach would chew less gum.

Life would be different, for sure. There would be more time for the important stuff. Like, volleyball.

Wootton hosts Blair in a first round playoff match on Thursday, May 1 at 5;30 pm.


It's A Parent to The Sons of Wootton

Patriots win against Richard Montgomery 25-21, 25-19, 25-15.

Sons of Wootton.

Those words kinda have an old school charge to them. Throw in a "Rah Rah" and the cadence is set to cheer your dear old school's march down the gridiron.

On the volleyball court, the Sons of Wootton are giving their parents lots to cheer about this season. And, most apparently, the parents are a driving force behind their sons' success. Literally. Minivans may not be the coolest thing to drive but they sure do get the job done transporting the boys to and from practice and games. Nothing puts this coach's mind at ease than the sight of four or five minivans showing up to drive the team to away matches. Cheers to you, parents....Rah Rah Parents of the Sons of Wootton! Honk Honk Beep Beep.

The parents are not just drivers, but are the champions of these diving diggers, the sideout sages of serving and setting, the misters of Molten mobility, the jumping jousters of jammalammadingdong. (whatever rolls off the tongue will do for a cheer...) And by champions, I mean they raise these boys to go to class, study, be polite, be good citizens and treat their volleyball coach nicely. Seems to be working well... so far.

Soooo......to Parents of the Sons of Wootton:

First... Thank you.

Second....We have one more regular season match against Blake on Monday, April 28, and then playoffs.  Now is the time to do your parent homework, get enough grown-up sleep, eat well and prepare yourself for some awesome parenting action. The Sons of Wootton are cheering you on. You can do it!


Make Yourself at Home

Patriots defend home court on Senior Night against Sherwood Warriors 25-18, 26-24, 25-22

Thursday, April, 20, 2014

Every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. 
 - Matsuo Basho (17th Century Japanese poet)

Add the names Cary Chin, David Li, Paul Malinauskas and Benjamin Wang to wherever the list is carved.  The names on the list reach back to the past and leave room for more in the future. The list says "these people were here and are us, and in them are we." 

The Wootton volleyball  family list is carved in individual and collective memories that travel beyond the school gym walls. These memories are stirred by the friendships, the photos, the stories collected along the way.  Before the match, Wootton VB Alum  Joe Moyer, now a terrific coach for the Sherwood boys (including his son), shared with me some of his Wootton memories. As we sat in the gym on the bleachers under championship banners in familiar surroundings, he described his friends and experiences from his Wootton days with fondness and perspective. He was smiling as he told his stories.

You create for yourself a home, where you become what you are.

If you are on the list,  you do not need to explain why you are on it. Everyone on it already knows.  Cary, David, Paul and Benjamin have already done their explaining at home in Wootton's gym. They have completed their regular season home matches without a loss, going back four years.  More importantly, they have become who they are, and they are us.

Wootton takes some time off for Spring Break before  traveling to Richard Montgomery to Play the undefeated Rockets on Wednesday, April 23, 2014. The boys match follows the 5:15pm coed match.


Eight Matches and Seven Habits

Patriots win on road against Blair Blazers 25-17, 25-9, 25-15.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

It was Senior Night at Blair and, ironically, no seniors were on Blair's boys volleyball team. So, after Blair's coed seniors were honored, and the coed teams played (a 3-0 Wootton win), the boys took the court to take measure of their progress as teams.

Eight matches into the season provides some perspective on team dynamics and sheds light on the kind of learning opportunities that athletics offers to high school students...and coaches and parents.

Just recently, a wise friend of mine (and successful D1 collegiate volleyball coach) shared the article The 7 Secret Habits of Navy Seals, written by former Navy SEAL combat veteran Brent Gleeson.  What does it mean to be a productive member of a volleyball team? No matter a player's skill level or amount of time spent on the court, on the bench, or outside the gym, there is value to be offered and gained. Here is what Gleeson has to say:

Be loyal.  Loyalty to the team starts at the top. If it's lacking at the senior executive level, how can anyone else in the organization embrace it? Loyalty is about leading by example, providing your team unconditional support, and never throwing a team member under the bus.

Put others before yourself. Get up every day and ask yourself what you will do to add value to your team, such as simply offering your assistance with a project. The challenge is overcoming the fear that your team member might say: "Yes, I really need your help with this project…tonight."

Be reflective. Reflective people often spend too much time analyzing their actions. But imagine if you could harness this talent into something highly valuable? Reflecting on your mistakes, ensures you never repeat them.

Be obsessively organized. Some people innately have this ability, often to a fault, and some have to work at it a bit more. You have to find a process that works for you. Whatever your system is, make it work for you.

Assume you don't know enough. Because you don't. Any effective team member understands that training is never complete. It's true in any elite team. Those who assume they know everything are not good for the team. Those who spend time inside and outside of the workplace developing their knowledge and skills will provide the momentum for their team's forward progress.

Be detail-oriented. Attention to detail is an individual and a team value. Do we get it right all the time? Of course not. Imagine, though, if all members of a team are obsessed with detail in their delivery? Don't ask yourself what you are going to do today to be successful; ask how you are going to do it.

Never get comfortable. Always push yourself outside of your comfort zone. If you do this continually with every task you take on, that boundary will continue to widen. This process will ensure that you are continually maximizing your potential, which will positively impact your team.

Gleeson notes, "I've gotten these habits right, and I've gotten them wrong. But those mistakes of yesterday have forged me into a better leader and team member today. If you want to be part of an elite team and are going to shed old habits, make sure to keep these!"

Wootton's ninth match of the season will be at home on Thursday, April 10 against Sherwood. It will be Senior Night for four great teammates: Cary Chin, David Li, Paul Malinauskas and Benjamin Wang.


With Respect for Churchill, Wootton Unyielding

Patriots win dogfight against Bulldogs 25-22, 25-19, 25-23.

"This is the lesson: never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never—in nothing, great or small, large or petty—never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy."
— Winston Churchill @ Harrow School,    29 October 1941.

Winston Churchill knew how to speak and to lead during trying times, mobilizing the British people toward "their finest hour" in an unrelenting battle against their WWII enemy. Spend some time reading about Churchill on www.winstonchurchill.org .  The man would have made a great volleyball coach, even if he knew nothing about the game. Check it out.

There is no doubt that the coaches of Churchill's boys volleyball team are great volleyball coaches. That alone was enough for Wootton to respect the force that the Bulldogs would bring to Wootton's home court on Monday night.  It was a battle where neither team gave in.

Thomas Sprigg Wootton, on the other hand, was a Patriot whose convictions on defending the best interests of his homeland were part of the growing solidarity that led to American independence from the British Empire. Right on cue with their historical namesake, Wootton's volleyball Patriots defended their home court, led by seniors Paul Malinauskas, Benjamin Wang and Cary Chin. Senior David Li was instrumental in keeping the team's wits above the curve...OK, he kept the coach from chewing his nails off. Juniors Robert Severynse, Adam Kaplan, Mark Pang, Andrew Merchant and Ethan Frymark provided steady support for the cause. Freshmen Omar Nunez and Victor de Avila joined forces with their older teammates to hold off the Bulldogs. Of note, Junior setter/hitter Jeremy Chung took control of the Patriot offense in the third set to complete the victory.

Sophomores Justin Wu, Henry Shu, Nathan Xie and Jimmy Ho compete every day in practice against their experienced teammates, and they are unyielding. Preparation, perhaps, is the best way to show respect.

Wootton travels to Blair High School on Wednesday, April 9, 2014 to take on the Blazers. The boys match follows the 5:15 pm coed match.


At Mid-Season Against Walter Johnson, There Are No Halfway Points

Patriots win battle against Wildcats 25-18, 25-16, 18-25, 25-19.

Friday, April 4, 2014

The scoreboard picture to the right gives us some clues:
  • There are spaces to show points and sets earned by Wootton and the opposing team.
  • At 7 minutes and 21 seconds until the match begins, neither team has scored a point. The teams must actually play the match to earn points, and win sets.
  • When the teams do earn points, only whole numbers can be recorded where the scoreboard shows a "0." A team earns a whole point after a rally... or doesn't. Same with winning a set. There are no half points awarded.
Hmmm... awarding partial points is an interesting thought.... Maybe 3/8 points awarded for "style." How about 5/12 points for "effort." For some things in life, points are awarded to people who just "show up." That's worth a half a point, eh?

No no no no no. Not in volleyball. The team that wins the volley get the entire point. The team that loses the rally gets no points. The scoring system works well as is.  Otherwise, uniform choices could be a deciding factor in a close match.

Wootton and Walter Johnson had similar uniforms. And records. Aside from the fact that Wootton was playing against a school named for a great baseball player at the same time the Washington Nationals had their home baseball opener (points for baseball-volleyball "metaphors"?), both teams came out swinging for de fence (get it? defense. ). 

This one was a close match.  Both teams showed up to play and battle for every whole point in each of the four sets.  Both teams started the match with zero points, and with no style points to burn.  The Patriots earned enough points in this match to get the win. For the Patriots that were on the court at times, and for the Patriots that were on the bench during the match, this counts as one win for the whole team. THEIR team.

There is no other way to score against talented and well-coached Walter Johnson team except to earn every point. The second half of the season will present the same challenge to the Patriots.

The Patriots play at home against Churchill on Monday, April 7, 2014. The boys play following the 5:15 pm coed match.


Wootton vs. BCC: Learning by Doing

Wootton bounces back against Barons 17-25, 25-20, 25-17, 26-24

Those of us that have been around volleyball for a long time still remember vividly how we first got hooked on the game and then learned the skills needed to be competitive on the court. Here is a typical story I often hear:
I had an older brother/sister who would sit me down on the couch while I tried to do my math homework. I would drop my pencil, look up and listen to his/her recount of every single contact made on the ball at the most recent volleyball match. Every mistake was highlighted for dramatic effect. I became more intrigued the longer big bro/sis would talk about other people playing volleyball.
After flunking several math tests I decided to try volleyball for myself, since I knew so much already. At tryouts, the coach made a great two-hour slide show presentation with bulleted phrases with exciting words like "bump," "set" and my favorite, "smash." It was after the 24th slide that I was hooked. I made the team because I truly understood what "C'mon, don't miss your serves!" meant. We would practice not missing our serves by standing in long lines waiting for our turn to not miss.
My favorite part of game day was when coach would call a time-out and tell us other things not to do. The longer the coach talked, the better we got at waiting to not do things wrong. I would imagine myself doing great things, if only the net was lowered...and if I could listen to the great volleyball masters talk about when they used to play
Said no one. Ever.

Can we play now, Coach? The Wootton-BCC match was fun to watch because the teams showed up to PLAY.  It is competitive matches like this that should feed the desire to play more. And, to play better.

An unavoidable element of volleyball is error. Every volley ends in error. The objective is to force your opponent to make the errors, and to reduce the number of your team's errors. There were many errors on both sides of the net in this match. But that is beside the point.  By playing the game, the players are learning essential volleyball lessons, such as

  • recovering from an error
  • distinguishing between good errors vs bad errors; errors of commission vs errors of omission
  • executing game strategy one volley at a time
  • applying "technical" skills in system and out of system
  • responding to "pressure"
I could drone on. Kudos to the Barons of BCC and the Wootton boys for competing on the court. It's about halfway through the season and there is a lot of playing to be done. And learning.  The game teaches the game.

Wootton returns home to play Walter Johnson on Friday, April 4. The boys match follows the 5:15 pm coed match.


On the Souls of Our Feat(s)

Wootton slides past Whitman 25-10, 25-12, 25-18

Monday, March 31, 2014
by John Hartranft

The Spring 1988 Whitman volleyball teams stand tall in my memory, though only a few of the individuals hovered near six foot in height. Gil Thompson coached the varsity teams and I coached the JV coed team (see photo).  There were 24 players on that JV coed team--that's a lot of footwork to be trained to pass, set, hit and block. Part of the challenge that season was to give everybody meaningful time on the court during matches and to maximize the practice contacts needed to improve.

I thought about that 1988 Whitman team today when my current Wootton boys team played Whitman. I thought about the many steps taken by that 1988 team to get better. I thought about how we went toe to toe with some good teams in Montgomery County that year. I thought of some tracing their footsteps back to their parents' homelands in Burma, Brazil, South Korea, Israel, and China, and bringing back candies and soda for their coach. I thought about the giant leap Ingrid Chen made when she was named All-Met by the Washington Post two years later.

In addition to Ingrid, the names of these good souls were Dmitri Siegel, Sarah Smith, David Hisle, Mia Keefe, Ryan Kaplan, Mauro Rosenberg, Liz Henry, Noah Berlin, Lee Chen, Chris King, Patricia, Andrade, Aung Htut, Francesco Cibo, Christine Huo, Jiwon Paik, Carlos Castro-Neves, Ben Goldberg, Youngmin Park, Ana Corta, Barbara Sullivan, and Belle Chen.

Their teammate Gustavo Machado (second row, third from the left, behind #3) and varsity player Dov Fischman were also in my thoughts today. Gustavo and Dov, along with Samir Gafsi and Bruno Perrone, were brilliant young men who were suddenly gone later that same year.  Rest their souls. I think about them to renew my perspective about life, volleyball and the greater value of teams.

The youngest of the group is turning 40 this year. Their feats have no doubt been many and great since 1988.

I also thought about how that team travelled to Wootton that year to play against one of the legendary Mickey Lipman-coached teams that dominated Maryland volleyball in the 1980s.  Now I find myself sitting where Coach Lipman created a dynasty of seven straight state championships. Lipman's feat is humbling to those following in his shadow. And on the bench with me is a team of 16 players and 4 managers. That's a lot of footwork currently being trained to pass, set, hit, and block.

Every Spring 2014 Wootton player got to play against Whitman, except for Henry Shu, who is just now getting back on his feet after hobbling a bit this season. In addition to Henry, their names are Nathan Xie, Benjamin Wang, Henry Shu, James Ho, Andrew Merchant, Cary Chin, Justin Wu, Victor de Avila, Omar Nunez, Jeremy Chung, David Li, Mark Pang, Robert Severynse, Adam Kaplan, Paul Malinauskas, Ethan Frymark, Max Shin, David Juhnn, Noah Ru, and Timothy Chang.

All good souls contributing to the greater value of team. May their feats be many and great.


Facing Northwest, Wootton Maps Win

Patriots ace test against Jaguars 25-6, 25-12, 25-21.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014.

Finding the right direction to go can be made clear by the stars in the night sky, road signs along the way, or the GPS talking in a voice of preference. Given the name of Wootton's opponent, Northwest, there was no issue about where to be and which direction to go. It's on the map.

Three weeks after forming a team, the Wootton boys are getting to know their own team's strengths and weaknesses and can train to improve in all aspects. But, unknown challenges and opportunities of  respected opponents presents murkier roadmap. Wootton formed it's own strategic 'map" to prepare for Northwest.

That map included 3 major "routes': 1) Serve aggressively to take Northwest's formidable hitters out of system; 2) Control the ball and eliminate careless errors; 3) Implement a new lineup designed to optimize strengths and match up against Northwest's strong block.

The first two strategies worked well for Wootton. The team scored on 16 aces and served Northwest out of system another 38 times while committing on 5 service errors. Holding onto the serve also mitigated the impact of Northwest's strong serving game and sharpened Wootton's focus on controlling the ball to win rallies.

The new lineup, however, presented challenges in several rotations. Though fifteen Wootton players saw court time during the three-set match, a few unnecessarily played out of position, though performed admirably.  Players finding a way to play good volleyball despite the coach's lineup shortcomings is a step in the right direction.

Maybe following these steps will help the Wootton coach figure things out?

Wootton continues it's 2014 journey when it returns home to face Whitman on Monday, March 31 at 5:15.


While Finding A Way Around Quince Orchard, Wootton Harvests Winning Fruit

Patriots win 25-15, 25-16, 25-15.
Surely man was not created to be an idle fellow; he was not set in this universal orchard to stand still as a tree.
~ Thomas Dekker

Two teams created to play a volleyball match against each other on Monday night were most certainly not a bunch of idle fellows.  Quince Orchard and Wootton put up blocks that were tree-like in stature, and found ways to throw up limbs in the way of opposing attackers. Back row players were keeping the ball off the floor with the kind of hustle that would deny an orchard full of falling quince from ever touching soil. It's volleyball season in the universal orchard.

Two matches into the season, the Patriots are still in the process of cultivating the skills and strategies that will produce the fruits of success. Each set featured a different Patriot lineup that found a way to recover from QO's blocks, and to play a patient transition game against a very good defensive team.

Seniors Cary Chin, Paul Malinauskas, Ben Wang and David Li led the Patriots on the floor. Juniors Mark Pang, Robert Severynse, Ethan Frymark and Adam Kaplan gave the Patriots an early lead while Jeremy Chung added a strong finish. Sophomore Jimmy Ho took over the left side in set three and Freshmen Vincent de Avila and Omar Nunez paced the middle in sets two and three.

Wootton has one day back in the practice gym to work on lineups before traveling to face Northwest on Wednesday, March 26 at 5:15 pm.


Patriots Go to Work in Clash Against Titans

Wootton works for win against Einstein in season opener 25-5, 25-11, 26-24.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Albert Einstein's Three Rules of Work:

   1.  Out of clutter, find simplicity.
   2.  From discord, find harmony.
   3.  In the middle of difficulty lies opportunity.

Wootton Applies Rules of Work:

1.  Having navigated the clutter of bad weather, rescheduled tryouts and assorted other preseason noise, the Wootton boys finally had the opportunity to play a game of serve, block, pass, set, hit. Simple, eh?

2. Whereas the Patriots clashed against teammates in competitive preseason training sessions, that discord turned to team harmony against a common foe in Einstein's gym. Competition in the practice gym sharpened the Patriots' focus against a tall, athletic and well-coached Titan team. Every Patriot earned court time to add their note to the harmony.

3. As the match progressed, the Titans took it to the Patriots with a stronger serve and net game. In a hard fought third set, the Patriots found opportunity to learn composure in the middle of difficulty. Down late in the match with the Titans applying pressure, the Patriots responded by steadying their ball control. It was an opportunity to learn a bit about resolve.

Seniors Paul Malinauskas and Ben Wang paced the Patriot offensive attack choreographed by senior setter Cary Chin. Senior David Li was strong off the bench as one of the cadre of hard-hitting outside hitters, including juniors Mark Pang, Andrew Merchant and Jeremy Chung.

Juniors Ethan Frymark, Adam Kaplan and Robert Severynse assumed roles to provide strength and depth in key positions. Kaplan at libero steadied the passing and transition game; Frymark as middle blocker in set 1 and setter in set 3 added a unique dimension to Wootton's lineups; Severynse contributed his aggressive net game as a middle hitter.

Sophomores Jimmy Ho and Nathan Xie began their Wootton volleyball careers smashingly as left-side hitters while Justin Wu picked up from last year as a defensive specialist, then adding few rotations at middle blocker to his repertoire.  Freshmen Omar Nunez and Victor de Avila were impressive in the middle.

A man who has a school named for him (I know, there is more to Albert Einstein's legacy) must know a few things about how the world works. Albert Einstein would have been a good volleyball coach.  He not only would follow his own rules of work, but he would also consider space and time in relation to each other to run an effective quick tempo offense.

The Patriots return home against Quince Orchard on Monday, March 24 at 5:15 pm.


2014 Season Outlook

With the largest roster (in number and height) in seven seasons at Wootton, the Patriots approach the season less experienced than recent years, but with depth in athletic ability and a desire to learn the volleyball skills necessary to compete through a tough MCPS schedule. The challenge will be to translate athletic ability to a volleyball-playing unit with a balanced offense, defensive strength, and a relentless transition game that often determine success on the court.

Wootton returns seven players from the 2013 squad, including two starters. 


Cary Chin
Cary takes over primary setting duties after contributing as a utility and defensive player the past three years. The Patriots will depend on his experience to balance the offensive attack and to steady the transition game. Cary's experience in the competitive world of nine-man volleyball translates nicely into a high awareness of game strategy and running an offense. 

Paul Malinauskas
Paul returns as one of the most experienced volleyball players in Montgomery County history. Last year's Gazette Player of the Year, Paul is poised to cap his high school career as a leader and mentor to to the next generation of Wootton players.  Called into duty to help his teammates step up the level of play necessary to compete with top teams, Paul takes his role seriously but with a humorous flair for the game. 

David Li
David joins the team for the first time as a senior player after serving the Wootton volleyball program in other roles for the past three years. His commitment to improving and his leadership by example landed him a spot on the roster, and he is showing qualities that contribute toward building a cohesive team. David brings his joy to the game and will be a crowd favorite when he is on the court. 

Benjamin Wang
Ben has been one of the county's top liberos the past two years. Now, as a fourth year senior, he adds his aggressive attacking style to become a six rotation player for the Patriots. Ben will add consistency to the passing game and his quickness and ability to read opposing attacks makes him an exciting player for fans to watch. 


Jeremy Chung
Wootton swimmer Chung has stepped out of the water and onto the volleyball court where he is finding his footing in a big way.  He is a quick learner and is already making an impact. Expect Jeremy's considerable athletic ability to shine on the court as a utility player.

Ethan Frymark
Ethan enters his second year on the roster with considerably greater skills than last year. The tallest member of the team, Ethan's passing and setting abilities make him a six rotation player who has the potential to impact the outcome of every match.

Adam Kaplan
Adam joins the team for a second year after starring for Wootton's state championship hockey team. Adam's knack for controlling a puck on ice with a stick seem to have transferred to his ability to be in the right place at the right time on the volleyball court. Adam will be a steadying influence on the court with his strong passing ability.

Andrew Merchant
Andrew joins the boys team after developing his volleyball skills on last year's coed team. His strong net skills and passing ability put him into a position to compete for an outside hitter position. The more time Andrew earns on the court, the more points Wootton will earn in a match. There will be a high correlation between Andrew's and Wootton's success.  The evidence in practice affirms his readiness to make that happen.

Mark Pang
Mark returns for a third year with strong all-around skills. His ability to come off the bench last year in critical moments has made him a key clutch player. Mark wants the ball when the game is on the line, and the Patriots will look to that this season. Expect him to have more opportunities to score points in one of the outside hitter positions this year.

Robert Severynse
Robbie is an aggressive net player who has the leaping ability to play bigger than his 6'3" height.   As he continues to develop his technique, he has the potential to become a dominating net player. His work ethic in practice is paying off in significant ways for the Patriots.  If you get an opportunity to see Robbie wind up for an attack, remember to breath.


James Ho
Jimmy joins the team for the first time as a sophomore having improved significantly from his freshman year tryout.  His all-around skills make him a natural utility player who adds value to the team as an outside hitter, passer, secondary setter and defensive specialist.

Henry Shu
Henry returns to the team for a second year having gained valuable experience training daily with and against an experienced 2013 Wootton team. As he continues to gain strength and skill, his work ethic and learning ability will place him in line to be an outstanding player.

Justin Wu
Justin spent his freshman season assimilating into Wootton's system and serving primarily as a defensive specialist. He is being called into action as a setter during training sessions as he develops his growing set of volleyball skills.  

Nathan Xie
As a first time member of the team, Nathan is showing his potential as a passer and outside hitter and defensive specialist. He will apply his considerable athletic ability as he learns the Wootton system and gains competition experience. 


If the athletic abilities of Victor de Avila and Omar Nunez are any indication of their future success, then their and Wootton's volleyball future is bright. If their ability to develop their volleyball skills as quickly as they have in preseason practices is any indication, then that future will happen much sooner than later. If they continue to train harder and smarter, Victor and Omar are going to be contributing on game day this season. 


VB Primer: Be Relentless!

This is a great volleyball rally with relentless pursuit of the ball on defense and assertive swings at the ball on offense.  What happens in between during transition is important. Watch the video a few times. First, enjoy the rally and all of the great plays on the ball. Then, watch the movement and positioning of the players without the ball.


2014 Tryouts: Day 2 & 3 UPDATED

Tryouts on Monday and Tuesday, March 3 and 4 are cancelled. MCPS is closed due to inclement weather.

Tryouts will continue for the Boys and Coed teams on Wednesday, March 5 and Thursday, March 6, 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm. Meet in the main gym.

People who were not at Saturday's tryout may come to the next tryout session, but be sure you have all your paperwork ready:

If you have ALREADY tried out for a sport at Wootton THIS YEAR (during Fall or Winter seasons), you must turn in the following:
  • Parent Permission/Residency Form
  • Wootton Guidelines Form
  • Medical Card
If you have not tried out for anything this year, you must bring forms 1-3 listed above AND you must bring:
  • The last page of the MCPS Physical Form (it says "Clearance Form" at the top.
  • The Concussion Testing waiver forms.

No student will be allowed to try out without a completed Clearance Form either already on file at the school or turned in at tryouts!!!


2014 Tryouts begin March 1 at 11 am

Spring volleyball tryouts for boys and coed teams will start on March 1 at 11:00 a.m.  Please enter the building at the lower parking lot entrance. If the boys basketball team is practicing in the main gym, we will begin in the lower gym. Tryouts will continue on March 3, time and place TBA.

In order to try out, you MUST have your paper work with you or have already turned it in to Mary in Rm. 279.  If you don't know what papers you need, please check the Wootton Athletics website.
Please note:  No student will be allowed to try out without a completed Medical Clearance Form either on file at the school or turned in at tryouts - no exceptions!!

All students participating in Wootton athletics are also required to watch the MCPS Health and Safety Presentation.  Please view it at this link:  http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/uploadedFiles/departments/athletics/health/MCPS_Athlete_Safety_2013%20Final.pdf 

Wear athletic clothing to tryouts and bring a water bottle.  


2014 Preseason Information: Conditioning Schedule

Tryouts begin Saturday March 1, 2014

Conditioning sessions will take place after school (2:30) on the following days:
  • Tuesday, Feb. 18
  • Friday, Feb. 21
  • Monday, Feb. 24
  • Tuesday, Feb. 25
  • Thursday, Feb. 27

Meet outside the lower gym (inside the building).  Bring a water bottle.  Wear indoor clothing, but if the weather is dry, also bring outdoor clothing.  

Please bring your completed paperwork to Wootton Coed Coach Mary Malinauskas in Rm. 279 as soon as possible.  All handouts are available on the main page of the Wootton Athletics website under "Handouts".  In order to participate in the conditioning, you must bring a medical card and parent permission form at least; you might as well bring all your forms then! 


2014 Preseason News: Information meeting on Tuesday, February 11

A meeting will be held in Room 274 on Tuesday, February 11 at 2:15 pm.

Plan to attend this meeting if you are interested in trying out for the Boys or Coed team this spring.  Information about tryouts, eligibility, expectations and required forms will be presented.

Tryouts begin on Saturday, March 1.