DERWOOD – The Colonel Zadok Magruder varsity boys’ volleyball team (5-0) continued its winning ways with a smashing three-set win over the Blake Bengals boys (2-3), 25-14, 25-18, 25-20, at Magruder High School Friday. In the second game of the evening, the Bengals coed team responded in kind, defeating the Magruder team in three sets.
The stunning play of the Colonels could only be matched by the Bengals a few moments during the match. The easy, convincing win goes a long way in establishing the Colonels as one of the favorites for the County championship.
Colonels head coach Tara Vaglica said, “We’re very relaxed. … I think we’re one of the top teams in the county.”
The Colonels appeared to be having fun the volleyball court, at times smiling and cheering. Mentally, this squad looked very loose, which is a good thing on any sports level.
“They’re fun. We have a lot of seniors who have been playing together for a long time. Of my starting lineup, all my line is a senior, ” said Vaglica.
Strong play by an offensive-minded Colonels squad included senior Chimere Ukwuani. At times, Ukwuani took over the game with precise shots and dead-accurate serves.
A magnificent third set by senior Andy Chen and the defense of the senior libero Richard Medina helped to pave the way for the Colonels.
“The second [set], Blake had 18 points, [and] we missed nine serves. In the third [set], we came back, got our serves in, and were able to run the offense. It is hard to run anything when you can’t get an offense going. That helped us, our execution,” commented Vaglica.
The Bengals had trouble most of the evening, taking a brief 6-4 lead in the third set. Seniors Orbell Keshishi and Erick Lopez tried to hold the tide against the dominant Colonels. Sophomore Kentiaus Cunningham Charley also played well for the Bengals. Yet tonight, the Colonels were too much.
In the second game, the Blake Bengals coed varsity volleyball team (4-1) met a competitive Colonel Zadok Magruder team (1-4), but in this game, the Bengals were the ones en route to a three-set victory.
However, the evenly-matched second set had the Colonels barely ahead, 24-22. Then, what appeared to be a point and a set for the Colonels was overturned by head referee Scott Vanlowe. Vanlowe ruled that there was an illegal touching at the net by a Colonel teammate and awarded the point to the Bengals.
The Bengals took advantage of this, using their next point to force overtime.
“Accidents happen. We got to play every point. It’s one game. We make up for it. We got to shake it off. And go after the next one,” said Colonels head coach Adam Altman.
The stars of the evening for the Bengals included senior Brandon Williams-Brown, junior Anthony Marshall, junior Camryn McClain, senior Jasmine Owens and sophomore Francesca Carey. In particular, the play of McClain and Owens was brilliant at times as they were the key in this three-set victory.
Bengals coach David Fitzgerald said, “We didn’t play our best, but we played well enough to come out on top.”
“That’s the ref’s call. We definitely got lucky there.”
After the second set loss, the Colonels lost much of their drive and were outperformed in a lopsided third set. Yet senior Ecaterina Tau and sophomores Irfan Soeparno, Siddharta Geddiya and Ilyas Dasti keyed many strong finishes during the match for the weaker Colonels side.
Fitzgerald said of the evening, “The second [set] definitely gave us the momentum to win the third [set]. It definitely helped and woke are kids up to the fact that they actually had to play volleyball, then show up and win.”
Altman said, “They’re working together. They’re a young team. I got some boys who are coming out learning what to do … they’re all great”.