Day 1 Match #1
NVA Starts Season With 5 Set Blaze and Untouchables Match
Blaze setter Marques Buggs opened the 2021 season with the first serve and Blaze scored the first point on an Untouchable hitting error. And the Untouchables scored the first real point of the season on a block by middle blocker, Matt Buffum. As the match progressed both teams struggled to find their rhythm and much of the scoring for both teams was a result of a plethora of hitting and passing errors. The combined hitting average of the teams was 40%. The lowest of 19% by the Untouchables in the first set and highest at 70% by the Blaze in the short fifth set.
After the Blaze won the first two sets 25-18 and 25-21, they changed their lineup. The new Blaze lineup struggled and that opened the door for the Untouchables to launch a comeback with a 25-16 win in the third set. Although the Blaze started off slow in the fourth set by committing a combination of passing and hitting errors to fall behind 4-0, this set turned out to be the most competitive. Teams exchanged leads. But at 20-20 the Untouchables’ tough defensive run and two kills gave them a 23-21 lead. The Blaze lost a couple of opportunities to score real points with two service errors in a row. The Untouchables won the set on another Blaze hitting error 25-23.
The fifth set was an early nip and tuck battle until Belvin took over with three kills in a row to take a 3-point lead. Untouchables fought back to tie at 7-7. A Buggs dump gave Blaze the lead. Untouchables countered with a dump from Wiskerchin. But after a Belvin kill and Untouchables hitting error the Blaze won the match on a kill by O’Gorman at 15-12.
Day 2, Match #5
Matadors Defense and Digs Big Factor in Win Over Blaze
Blaze started the set strong with kills by Pedro Nieves, Joseph Cuevas, Travis OZ’Gorman, while Matadors scored kills by Martin Petris, Mauro Issac, Carlos Serrano and a block by Petris to take an 8-7 lead. At the second media time out the Blaze took the lead 16-15 but after a string of hitting and serving errors the Matadors regained and extended their lead on an ace by Gilberto Sanchez, two kills by Jakob Vander Beek, Issac, Petris, Serrano and an ace by Issac to 20-17. Blaze attempted a comeback with two kills by Cuevas and an ace by Nieves. But the Matadors finished the set with a kill by Vander Beek, Petris, Serrano and Issac ace to win 25-20.
In set two the Blaze started Charles Belvin, who turned out to be a spark plug for their offense. Buggs set Belvin the first ball and he responded with a kill that pumped up his teammates. While the Matadors struggled to side out, the Blaze took advantage of free and down balls by the Matadors and followed with kills by Travis O’Gorman and Nieves; and a Buggs ace and another kill by Belvin that built an 8-5 lead. After the time out the Blaze extended their lead with an ace by Nieves, two kills by Jordan Walley and Belvin block to 12-6. Matadors attempted a comeback with kills by Vander Beek and Issac but Blaze kept their six point lead on kills by O’Gorman, Belvin and Nieves to 16-10. Matadors attempted a comeback with three consecutive kills from Issac but the Blaze hung on and finished the set with a kill by O’Gorman to win 25-17.
In set three hitting and service errors by Blaze got them off to a bad start, while Matadors responded with kills by Issac and Petris, two kills by Vandeer Beek and blocks by Petris and O’Gorman and took a three point lead at the first media time out 8-5. Blaze rallied back with two kills by Rodriguez and Belvin and a kill by O’Gorman and Nieves and tied the set at 13-13. But thanks to a setter dump by Gilberto Sanchez and kills by Issac and Carlos Serrano the Matadors took back the lead at 16-15. Both teams sided out well with kills by O’Gorman, Belvin, Rodriguez and Nieves for the Blaze and kills by Vander Bees, Issac and Sanchez for the Matadors. At 23-22 the Matadors closed out the set on kills from Issac and Vander Beek scored the set point on a kill 25-22.
Set four was a mirror image of set three. Blaze started off strong again with kills by O’Gorman, Rodriguez, and Nieves; and a block by Rodriguez. Matadors countered with an ace by Serrano, kills by Issac, Petris and Vander Beek to lead 8-6. After the time out Matadors kept and added to their lead on three consecutive kills by Vander Beek. Both teams sided out well. Blaze with kills by Belvin, Buggs and Rodriguez and Matadors on kills by Brett Massetti and Vander Beek. Although O’Gorman scored three consecutive kills, it wasn’t enough for Blaze to make a comeback. Vander Beek caught fire again and scored back-to-back kills to 24-22. The set ended on a long rally and the Matadors won the match on a Belvin hitting error 25-22.
Belvin and O’Gorman led the Blaze with 13 kills each, followed by Rodriquez with 9 and Nieves 6. And Blaze hit 43%.
Matadors’ Issac led all players with 17 kills, Vander Beek 12 and Petris 6 and Matadors hit 41%. In addition to his kills, Vander Beek’s defense played a major factor in the Matadors’ win. He had double digit digs. In 2 rallies he had back-to-back digs and another rally he had 3 digs.
Day 3, Match #3
Blaze Rebound After First Set Loss to Tornadoes and Win Match in 4 Sets
Blaze and Tornadoes offenses started strong. Blaze scored on kills by Charles Belvin, Jordan Walley, John Rodriguez and a dump by setter Marques Buggs. For the Tornadoes middle blocker Steven Roschitz started the set with a kill, followed by two kills from Sequiel Sanchez, kill from middle blockers Patrick Moscicki and Roschitz block to lead 8-7. After the first media timeout Blaze hitting errors helped Tornadoes increase their lead to three points with an ace and kill from Eduardo Hernandez and Sanchez. During this run Blaze only had two kills from Travis O’Gorman. At 16-13 two kills by Roschitz and block by Aaron King increased the lead to 20-16. But O’Gorman caught fire and scored four of the next five points for the Blaze that cut the Tornadoes lead to 21-20. But the Tornadoes fought back and scored the last two points of the set on kills by Sanchez and won 25-22.
In set two both teams committed a total of 14 hitting and service errors. Blaze took the early lead that began with a block by middle blocker John Rodriguez, followed with two kills by Belvin, O’Gorman kill and Rodriguez service ace that gave them a three point lead at 8-5. The only two real scores for the Tornadoes came on kills from Sanchez and Moscicki. After the first media timeout Tornadoes scored on kills by King, Roschitz, Hernandez and block by Sanchez. Blaze scored on 4 kills by O’Gorman, Nieves Rodriquez and block by Rodriguez and service ace by Buggs and took a commanding 20-13 lead. Tornadoes countered with a short rally on a service ace by Roschitz and a Sanchez kill and block. Blaze won the set 25-21 on kills by Walley and O’Gorman.
Set three was a mirror image of set two that ended in the same score. Blaze and Tornadoes committed a total of l8 hitting and service errors. A Sanchez kill started the scoring for the Tornadoes, followed by a King block and kills by Roschitz and Hernandez. Blaze scored on two consecutive kills by Belvin, one by Nieves, another Belvin kill, a Walley kill and Rodriquez block to lead before the first media timeout at 8-7. Both teams had a successful spurt of side-outs in which the Tornadoes scored on a Hernandez block, Sanchez kill, Moscicki block and Sanchez service ace. Blaze scored points from a Buggs dump and kills by O’Gorman, Nieves and Walley. At 12-12 Blaze pulled ahead by two points with a kill by Belvin and a block by O’Gorman to 16-14. Only four real points were scored by both teams the rest of the set. For Tornadoes a kill by Sanchez and Roschitz; and Blaze O’Gorman and Belvin. The set ended on a Tornadoes’ hitting error that gave the Blaze a 25-21 win.
In set four Blaze cut down on their errors but not the Tornadoes, who had a total of 10 service and hitting errors. Blaze capitalized on the Tornadoes’ early errors and took a commanding 8-1 lead that they never relinquished. Bad passing contributed to most of the Tornadoes’ errors and only managed to score 6 real points on two kills and one block by Roschitz, two kills by Sanchez and one kill from King. Blaze scored on three kills by Nieves, three kills by Walley, three kills and an ace by Belvin, O’Gorman kill and block and Rodriquez kill. Blaze closed out the match with a kill and block by Joseph Cuevas and won 25-13.
Roschitz and Sanchez led Tornadoes with 10 kills each, Moscicki 4 and King and Hernandez 3. Tornadoes had 5 blocks and hit 33%. For the Blaze Belvin and O’Gorman led all players with 11 each, Jordan 8, and Nieves and Rodriguez 8. Blaze had 8 blocks and hit 50%. Tornadoes finished with an 0-3 record and Blaze 2-1.