Men’s volleyball crushes Livermore in straight sets


Jade Wang

Carson Tetik scores a kill from the middle through Livermore’s triple block.

Jade Wang and Sneha Cheenath

Dougherty Valley men’s volleyball beat Livermore 3-0 on April 12, winning by scores of 25-20, 25-18 and 25-17, respectively. 

Set one started with a three-point run for Dougherty after a service ace by Gavin Kristic, strong opposite swing by Carson Tetik and a nice middle kill by Marco Esteban. Livermore finally sided out after a missed serve and quickly closed the point gap with a touch off the Wildcats’ block a swing out of bounds by Tetik. With a double called on Kristic immediately after, Livermore took the lead 4-3. However, Dougherty regained the momentum quickly after Tetik scored a swing off the Cowboys’ block and Esteban shut down an unfortunate overpass with a strong spike.

After another nice swing by Tetik and an unforced hitting error by Livermore, Dougherty reached a 8-6 lead. The score remained close, with a tie at 8-8 and 10-10. Livermore began to fall behind again after a missed serve and tip out of bounds, but Dougherty returned the score to a tie with a missed serve of their own at 13-13. Despite a strong hit by Tetik and missed serves by Livermore, shaky passing by the Wildcats kept the teams head to head.

“Passing, in general, is the basis of your offense and defense,” Ethan Tsao noted. “We really wanted to run tandems (trick plays) but we were unable to sometimes because our passes were imperfect.”

However, after Alexander Daveynis broke the tie (19-18) with a solo block, Dougherty began to pull into the lead. With effective blocks by Kristic, Esteban and Tetik and an aggressive kill by Tsao, the Wildcats propelled to set point. The Cowboys ended the set in the Wildcats’ favor 25-20 with a miscommunication and an unsuccessful freeball. 

“Our outsides and opposites swung very well in this game,” Rio Krauss said, acknowledging the setters’ roles in making those swings happen. 

The Wildcats’ dominated the beginning of the second set. Sindhunandan Udhayakumar swung high and out on the first point, but followed with a strong cross-court kill immediately after. With a nice block by Tetik and Daveynis, the Wildcats established an early lead of 5-1. At 6-1, Livermore called a timeout. Dougherty continued to score with a block and kill on an overpass by Daveynis and a service ace by Kristic. After a two-point service run, Kristic netted, giving the Cowboys their second point of the set 10-2.

Unforced hitting errors and miscommunications prevented Livermore from making a comeback, but Dougherty’s own faltering with off-sets and hits into the net gave the Cowboys a few free points. After Livermore aced a serve, Coach Regina Conley called a timeout 14-8. 

After the time out, Dougherty quickly sided out after Livermore tripped over themselves running to get the ball. Dougherty kept their 6-point lead as the game then went back and forth, with both teams struggling to serve consistently. 

Dougherty had control of the ball 20-14 after Livermore netted a serve. With a double block by Tsao and Eseteban and a double called on the Cowboys, the Wildcats moved comfortably towards set point. Dougherty’s momentum halted momentarily after an unforced hitting error and miscommunication, tightening the score slightly to 24-18. However, Kristic ended the set 25-18 with a strong middle kill, resulting in applause and cheers across the gym. 

Set 3 started with unforced hitting errors as well as smart points by both teams, keeping the score close. At 5-4, Daveynis scored a point with a smart tip off Livermore’s block. The Cowboys struggled to make their own points with two missed serves and a freeball out of bounds. Krauss said a big reason for the abundance of service errors in the game was due to many players attempting a topspin serve, which he believes is “aggressive and flashy”, often leading to “less position precision” and more misses. 

After two service aces by Udhayakumar and impressive kills by Kristic, Dougherty led Livermore 13-7. At 14-7, Tsao scored a notable kill on an out of system pass and set by Tetik, solidifying an 8-point lead for the Wildcats. Kristic attempted a faster set to Esteban in the middle that resulted in a swing into the net, but Udhayakumar made up for the error with a tip off the block on the next point.

“It’s hard to do faster sets overall because the timing is quicker and the margin of error is a lot smaller,” Tsao said, regarding Esteban’s hitting error. 

After a timeout at 18-9, Dougherty subbed in Sai Chebrolu. The Cowboys’ began to close the point gap as Dougherty made multiple hitting errors and failed to pick up a serve by Livermore. At 21-16, Tsao scored a strong kill in the left-back corner of the court. Dougherty then prevailed smoothly to set-point with a strong center kill by Kristic and a missed serve by Livermore. On set-point, Tsao slammed the ball down on Livermore’s side of the net, finalizing the score 25-17.