Men’s Volleyball loses to Foothill in third game of the season


Jade Wang

Carson Tetik and Alexander Daveynis (left to right) line up at the net to block a Foothill middle swing.

Jade Wang and Sneha Cheenath

Dougherty Valley men’s volleyball lost to Foothill 3-1 on March 8, winning the first set 25-19 and losing the next three by scores of 25-16, 25-23 and 25-14 (respectively.) 

The first set did not start out in Dougherty’s favor, with a few miscalculated sets and swings out of bounds by the Wildcats putting them behind by three points. However, after two smart, deep shots by middle blocker Marco Esteban and outside hitter Udhayakumar, the score tightened. An ace serve by outside hitter Carson Tetik tied Dougherty and Foothill at 9-9, and another ace by Udhayakumar not long after forced Foothill to call their first timeout at 13-10. Udhayakumar continued with another three consecutive aces, giving the Wildcats a comfortable 16-11 lead.

Dougherty’s lead extended into the home stretch of the set with solid blocks by Tetik and middle blocker Alexander Daveynis as well as fast movement to the net by setter Gavin Kristic. Despite the momentum, the Wildcats faltered slightly by failing to cover touches off their block and committing a few unforced hitting errors as the set came to a close, allowing Foothill to catch up at a score of 22-19. Nevertheless, Doughetty prevailed and ended the set 25-19 after they forced Foothill to make an out of system error on set point. 

“We protected the ball; we passed well,” Coach Regina Conley said, regarding the Wildcats’ performance in the first set. 

But coming off their win, the Wildcats struggled in their second set when they lost 25-16. Dougherty snagged the first two points with Tetik winning a joust at the net and Esteban and Udhayakumar shutting down the Falcons with a strong double block. The Wildcats lost their lead momentarily when they missed several serves and made an unforced hitting error, tieing at 2-2, but great blocks and a smart tip over Foothill’s block by Daveynis let Dougherty work up to a three point lead. 

However, a strong kill through Dougherty’s block by Foothill’s outside hitter Zachary Seraj and a scrappy play in the Falcon’s favor quickly brought the score to 9-8 and prompted the Wildcats to call their first timeout of the game. Seraj continued to rack up points for the Falcons with a five-point service run, leaving the Wildcats dangerously behind at 15-11. The remainder of the set featured a few notable plays by the Wildcats— with a great dive from Udhayakumar to Krauss and aggressive swings by Tsao— but unforced service and hitting errors kept Dougherty behind by at least four points. 

“Something we really have to work on is making sure our servers are going in the court and challenging them to pass the ball,” Coach Regina Conley said. 

A successful kill through the Falcon’s block by Udhayakumar delays Foothill’s win, but the set eventually ended 25-16 with Dougherty serving into the net on set-point. 

The Wildcats put up a stronger fight in their third set, but still lost 25-23. The Falcons achieved a small lead at 4-2 after a double and lift were called on Dougherty early on. The set stayed close as both teams struggled to keep the ball in bounds and out of the net on serves. After a smart tip by Daveynis and a Foothill swing out of bounds, the teams were tied at 13-13. Udhayakumar then pulled the Wildcats into a lead with an aggressive kill off the block. However, Foothill’s own #5 fought back with a cross-court swing into the deep right corner and another kill down the line immediately after, bringing the Falcons back into the lead at 16-15. The next few points featured a few great outside and middle kills by both sides, and an eventual Foothill timeout at 21-19 after an unforced hitting error into the antennae. A fast kill by Daveynis brought the Wildcats to 22-19, but a service ace by Foothill tied the teams again at 22-22. A strong kill by Foothill caught Dougherty’s defense flat-footed, bringing them to set-point at 24-23. On the last point of the set, the Wildcats passed into the net and were unable to get the ball over, solidifying the Falcon’s win 25-23. 

In the beginning of set four, the Wildcats trailed by three after their attempted blocks landed the ball out of bounds. Unforced errors on both sides gave both teams back-and-forth free points, bringing the score to 7-10. After an ace by Kristic and a fast kill by Esteban, Dougherty seemed to catch up at 10-12. However, the Wildcats struggled to move their feet to the ball as Foothill continued to catch their defense off guard with untouched and cross-court kills. At 19-13, Dougherty commited a rotation error, granting the Falcons a free point (20-13). There were good hustles by Udhayakumar and Krauss to the ball, but second touches were not always made, highlighting the Wildcats inconsistent defense. 

Esteban acknowledged the Wildcats’ lack of group communication, stating that the team needs to “continue to work together as one unit, rather than six separate entities.” 

At 23-14, Foothill scored another hard kill straight down without a Dougherty touch. On set-point, Udhayakumar took a strong swing but hit out, closing out the set 25-14 in the Falcon’s favor. 

Conley noted that a contributing factor to the Wildcat’s loss could have been because they tried running a different offensive rotation due to scheduling conflicts with some players; Kristic played all the way around this game instead of usually switching out with Krauss, which Conley said made Dougherty “lose offense in the front row.” 

“We tried to run the five one and [it] obviously was not as successful as we would have wanted it to be. That chemistry just didn’t work. We’ve got to figure it out.”