Men’s Volleyball faces tough start with two consecutive losses

Sneha Cheenath and Jade Wang

On Feb. 25, Dougherty Valley Men’s Volleyball put up a strong fight against San Ramon Valley at home but eventually lost with an overall record of 3-0. The sets went 25-14, 25-17 and 25-23. 

The first set had an auspicious start, with Dougherty getting the first point. But a slow defensive response time let the Wolves take an early four-point lead. Halfway through the set, there was a long rally between the two teams, showcasing excellent play on both sides. The point eventually went to SRV. Following a Dougherty net violation and side outs on each side later, SRV won with a final score of 25-14. 

“I think our passing and services were very good, especially for our first game, and I think our setting was mostly good,” sophomore Ethan Tsao commented. 

The second set was plagued by Dougherty net violations and the ball going out of bounds, giving away an eight-point lead for San Ramon Valley. The Wildcats got points from a number of serves that went out of bounds. But the Wolves capitalized on holes in DV’s defense to concurrently increase their points, leading to a score of 25-17. 

Head Coach Regina Conley said that the holes in their defense are “because it’s a new defense, we’ve changed some positions, and they’re adjusting … I think as the match progressed, they got better.”

The third quarter also started with a distinct three-point lead for SRV. An energetic over by junior Arthur Kim, senior Sriharsha Gubbala and senior Hans Dong, coupled with a continued trend of SRV’s failed serves, led to a tied score of 9-9. The game remained close, and the teams were eventually tied at 23-23. But after Dougherty let the ball drop and bumped it out of bounds, the game ended 25-23. 

On March 3, the Wildcats lost 3-0 to Foothill, 25-16, 25-22 and 20-25 respectively, but showed improved gameplay. 

Dougherty got the first point of the game, but a net violation and out ball helped Foothill quickly catch up. A masterful tip from Kim got a point for the Wildcats. Foothill responded with a two-point increase.

The ball went back to Dougherty when Foothill went out of bounds. The crowd called for Foothill to side out, and they quickly delivered when a block from Dougherty went sour and they got another point. 

Dougherty ran into issues with the ball getting past their block and with no one to receive it, which contributed to an eight-point lead for Foothill. These issues persisted, leading to a final score of 25-16. 

“Some of the times we don’t really close the block completely and the hits get through at really weird angles, and they get deep shots that are hard to pick up,” Dong explained. “I think we should practice being ready to get those whatever they do happen.”

The continued trends of questionable defense and balls going out for both sides led to a close score for much of the second set. After Foothill’s ball went out, Dougherty got their first two-point lead, 12-10. But the Falcons soon caught up, and eventually gained a five-point lead. The Wildcats fought back to close the gap, leading to a disheartening, but mildly triumphant score of 25-22. 

Dougherty got an early lead in the third set, with an auspicious score of 6-4. But after a bad serve and a hit that bumped the ball out of bounds, Foothill got back to 6-6. The DV players shouted encouragement as they fixed the antenna, but to no avail, as Foothill continued picking up its lead. Dougherty soon caught up at 13-13, but the Falcons continued scoring, and they won the game 25-20 after a strong spike directly into a hole in Dougherty’s defense. 

In spite of these losses, the Wildcats look forward to a successful season. “I think that these gentlemen are motivated. I think that they work very hard in practice, and I think they want it,” Conley said.