Stingers Sweep Blaze Close Three Tough Sets
Blaze started strong with kills by #8 Pablo Guzman and MB Pedro Nieves and took a 3-1 lead. But the Stingers quickly countered with consecutive kills by #15 Novel Romero and #9 Jorge Mencia and double block by Mencia and #17 Cory Metcalf and took a 5-3 lead. Both teams traded points until Blaze increased the lead to two points before the media timeout at 16-14. Blaze scored on kills by #1 Steven Morales, #14 MB Jonathon Rodriguez, Guzman, Nieves and Nieves block, #24 Marques Buggs setter dump, Rodriguez block. Stingers scored points on kills by Mencia and Romero. After Blaze increased their lead to 21-18, Stingers launched a comeback on kills by Romero, #8 Storm Tufuga-Fa’agato and Mencia and tied the set 21-21. Blaze called a timeout after a hitting error gave the Stingers a 22-21 lead. Stingers closed out the set with a kill and service ace by Mb Metcalf 25-22.
In set number two the Blaze took the early lead again 4-1 from kills by MB Nieves and two blocks by Rodriguez. After Stingers tied the score at 5-5, they took the lead after two service aces by #1 Paul Clark 7-5. Stingers kept the lead until the media timeout at 16-13 on a service ace by Mencia, kills by Storm, #14 MB Fernandez Lazaro, Metcalf and block by Romero. Blaze scored points from MB Rodriquez, Guzmans and block by Morales. Blaze tied the score at 17-17 a kill by #10 Rafael Cruz and two kills by Guzman. After Stingers called a timeout, they took the lead to 18-17 on kill by Mencia. Stingers kept they lead in remainder of the set. Then at 24-23 the Stingers closed out the set on a kill by Storm 25-23.
Stingers took the early 4-0 lead in the third set from a Blaze hitting error, back-to-back blocks by Metcalf and Romero and Metcalf kill. Blaze finally scored on a middle attack by Nieves. At 10-7 the Blaze cut the lead to 11-10 with a sharp angle kill and service ace by Cruz, Buggs Dump and Stingers’ hitting error. But two Blaze errors killed their rally to tie the score. The Stingers increase their lead back to 4 points thanks to two more errors by the Blaze, a Storm service ace and kill by Romero. At 22-19 Blazes’ #27 Charles Belvin scored on a kill down the line to try to spark a rally. But the Stingers won the set and match after a consecutive points by Storm on a bic and sharp angle kill.
Stunners Extinguish Blaze in 5 Sets and Secure a Spot in the NVA Playoffs
The Blaze committed three hitting errors to start set number one and kills by Corey Chavers #6 and Jair Santiago #15 and serve ace by setter Nikola Dimitrijevic gave the Stunners a commanding 6-0 lead. The Blaze finally scored a clean point on a kill by #14 Jonathan Rodriguez. The Stunners managed to keep their 6-point lead for most of the match thanks to the way setter Dimitrijevic lead a balance offense. Everyone of the Stunners got in on the action either with a kill, service ace or block. Scores for the Stunners came from kills by #22 MB Nick Amado, Chavers, Santiago and #9 MB Nick West and #7 Joey Jarvis; and setter Dimitrijevic also scored on a dump. West contributed a block and Chavers Santiago each had a service ace. The Blaze did well to stay within reach of starting a rally and score points from kills by #1 Steven Morales, #5 MB Pedro Nieves, #12 Travis O’Gorman, #8 Pablo Guzman; dump by #16 setter Edison Zhou and Rodriguez service ace. After 21-14 the Blaze cut the lead to 21-17 thanks to O’Gorman kill, Rodriguez service ace and Stunners’ hitting error. But the Stunners sided out well the rest of the set on two kills by Chavers, Jarvis and West. The set ended on a hitting error by the Blazes that gave the Stunners a 25-21 win.
Stunners and Blaze battled back and forth in the second set with both teams siding out. The Stunners scored first on a an Amado block and Santiago kill to 2-0 and kept the lead throughout the match but never by more than 3 points. However, the Blaze did manage to tie the score six times but never found a way to take the lead. Blaze relied mostly on Morales with 5 kills and one block and Nieves with 3 kills. Nine Blaze points came from Stunners’ service and hitting errors. Stunners scored most of their points on kills by Santiago who had 7 kills. Amado and West each had 2 kills and one block; and #18 Matt Hilling who came off the bench for Chavers had two kills and a service ace. With the score 24-22 Blaze’s O’Gorman scored on a bic to cut the lead to 24-23. But the Stunners’ Santiago scored the next point on a kill for a 25-23 win.
Stunners scored the first point from a Blaze error. Blaze took their first lead after two consecutive Stunners’ hitting errors to 4-3. Stunners retook the lead with a mini run from a block by #3 MB Shayne Beamer, kill by Jarvis and Santiago ace to 8-6. After the Blaze cut the lead to 1 point, they took the lead back on consecutive scores by a Nieves and O’Gorman kills and Nieves block to 14-12. Blaze increased their lead to 16-13 after a Stunners’ hitting error. Stunners chipped away at the lead and tied the match 21-21 after a Hilling block. But the Blaze hung on to end the set on consecutive kills by Rodriguez and O’Gorman for a 25-23 win.
Stunners took the early lead in set number four from four mini runs and built a 5 point lead. The first included consecutive kills by Chavers, Jarvis. The second by West and Chavers. Third on kill by Chavers, service ace by West and another Chavers’ kill. The fourth from kills by Chavers, Amado and Santiago for a 13-8 score. Blaze scored on their points from three Stunners’ service errors and kills by Guzman and Morales and block by Nieves. Blaze picked up their defense and slowly chipped away at the Stunners’ lead and tied the score at 24-24 after a Morales kill and then took the lead on an O’Gorman service ace to 25-24. Stunners sided-out and tied the score until 26-26. But the Blaze won the set after a Nieves block and O’Gorman kill 28-26.
Blaze took a 3-0 lead from a Stunner’s hitting error, Zhou service ace and Morales block. Stunners tied the score after two Blaze hitting errors and block by Amado to 3-3. Blaze and Stunners exchanged leads. At 9-9 Stunners took a lead they’d never give up after a Chavers cross court kill and increased their lead to 3 points after a Blaze error and Santiago kill off the block to 12-9. Blaze rallied to cut the lead to 14-13 after a Stunner hitting error and kill by Rodriguez to 14-13. Stunners won the match from a Blaze service error 15-13.
Southern Exposure Defeats Blaze in the Eighth 5 Set Match of the NVA’s Third Event
Blaze took an early 7-0 lead on kill and service ace by #8 Pablo Guzman, three kills in a row by #12 Travis O’Gorman, Southern Exposure hitting error and kill by #1 Steven Morales. Southern Exposure finally scored on a kill by #12 MB Uchenna Ofoha to 7-1. Blaze increased their lead to 11-3 after they scored three consecutive points on a kill by #3 Greg Faulkner, ace by Morales and kill by Guzman. Both teams sided-out well but also surrendered points to each other from service and hitting errors. The biggest Blaze lead was 9 points after Guzman scored on a joust to 15-6. While Southern Exposure scored clean points on kills by Ofoha, #13 Chad Mercado and #8 Tim Lourich, the Blaze scored on kills by O’Gorman, Guzman and Morales to 24-13. Southern Exposure scored the next point on a Blaze service error. And the Blaze won set point on a Southern Exposure service error 25-14.
Southern Exposure had a better start in the second set and scored the first four points from an Ofoha kill, Blaze hitting error and kills by #1 Tyler Neil-Hubbard and #10 Kyle Dagostino. Blaze score the next five points from a Southern Exposure hitting error, Guzman service ace, kill by O’Gorman, block by #5 Pedro Nieves and another Southern Exposure hitting error for a 5-4 lead. After Mercado tied the score at 7-7, Blaze relinquished their lead to Southern Exposure on hitting error to 8-7. Both teams sided-out well to keep the score close. Southern Exposure on kills by #2 Eddie Moushikhian and Hubbard and Ofoha and block by Ofoha. Blaze score on kills by O’Gorman and #10 Rafael Cruz. Southern Exposure increased their lead at 15-14 after a Mercado block and Moushikhian kill to 17-14. Two Blaze hitting errors increased the lead to 19-15. Blaze rallied back on kills by Morales and Faulkner and cut the lead to 22-21. After Hubbard and Mercado kills gave Southern Exposure at 2-point lead at 24-22, O’Gorman scored back-to-back kills and tied the score 24-24. Southern Exposure scored the next point from a kill by #19 MB Evan McDonough and then won the set from a Blaze hitting error 26-24.
In set number three Southern Exposure scored the first point on a kill by Mercado. Blaze tied the score at 2-2 on a Nieves kill and took the lead on an O’Gorman kill to 3-2. After Southern Exposure scored on a Blaze hitting error, the Blaze scored the next four points kills by #27 Charles Belvin, O’Gorman and Faulkner for a 7-3. Southern Exposure rallied to cut the lead to 12-10 after kills by Hubbard and Mercado and a block by Mercado. But Blaze never relinquished the lead. The last clean point the Blaze scored was on a kill by Nieves at 21-18. Blaze scored the next three points on a kill by Belvin, Southern Exposure hitting error and O’Gorman kill to 24-18. Southern Exposure scored the next point on a Blaze hitting error. Then the Blaze won the set on a Southern Exposure hitting error 25-19.
Southern Exposure scored the first point again and took the early lead in the fourth set on a Hubbard kill and Mercado block to 2-0. Blaze rallied back to tie the score after a Southern Exposure hitting error and a Faulkner block. Blaze scored the next two points from another Faulkner block and a Belvin service ace to 5-3. Southern Exposure tied and took the lead after kills by Lourich, Mercado and Moushikhian to 7-6. Blaze retook the lead to 11-8 after two Southern Exposure hitting errors and a Guzman kill. Southern Exposure cut the lead to one point after kills by Moushikhian and Mercado to 12-11. Both teams exchanged leads until Southern Exposure took a lead they never relinquished for the rest of the set after a Hubbard kill and Dagostino ace at 21-19. But the Blaze fought back and tied the set at 23-23 after a Southern Exposure hitting error and O’Gorman kill. A Blaze hitting error gave Southern Exposure a 24-23 lead. Belvin followed up with a kill to 24-24. Then Southern Exposure won the set on two consecutive kills, one by Mercado and the last by Dagostino after a Southern Exposure overpass 26-24.
In set number five Southern Exposure scored the first point on a Hubbard kill and Blaze on a kill by #14 Jonathan Rodriguez. Southern Exposure scored back-to-back kills from Ofoha for a 5-3 lead. After a service error Southern Exposure scored the next three points from a Moushikhian kill and back-to-back service aces to 8-4. Blaze rallied back to cut the lead to 11-9 after a block by Rodriguez. Mercado scored the next Southern Exposure point to 12-9. Blaze scored from Southern Exposure’s service error to 12-10. Hubbard scored to make 13-10. After Belvin scored a kill to 13-11, Southern Exposure won the set and match on a Moushikhian kill followed by a Blaze hitting error 15-11.
Chad Mercado led all players with 17 kills. His teammates Eddie Moushikhian added 11 kills, Tyler Neil-Hubbard 10 kills and Uchenna Ofoha 9 kills. Travis O’Gorman led the Blaze with 15 kills followed by Pablo Guzman 8 kills and Greg Faulkner and Charles Belvin 7 kills each. Southern Exposure also scored on 7 service aces and 7 blocks. And Blaze on 6 service aces and 5 blocks.