By Claire Bachand,
Davis High men’s varsity volleyball defeated Sheldon on in five close games on March 22. The Devils came out strong in the first two sets, winning both 25-20, before falling to Sheldon 25-23 and 25-22. After a long, hard fought game, DHS secured a victory in the fifth set with a score of 20-18.
“Our passing looked a lot better than it has been, which has been one of our weaknesses so far, and our hitting was just, I don’t know, something connected today,” senior Chris Sorter said.
Seniors Byron McConnell and Gavin Schouten led the Devils with 12 kills each, followed by senior Will Smith with 10 kills and senior Daniel Ribeiro with seven.
On the defensive side, junior Thomas Venner led the team with 21 digs. Smith and McConnell trailed Venner with 15 and 14 digs respectively.
“Chris’ leadership stood out to me [today]. Byron stepped up. Gavin stepped up alot too, he was blocking, he was hitting, he was playing smart the whole time,” coach Jason Balmes said.
Game one was smooth sailing for the Devils. After several powerful hits from Ribeiro and McConnell, paired with consistent digging from Smith and Venner, the Devils ended the game with a score of 20-25.
The Devils had similar luck in their second game.
After serving runs on both sides, and some back-and-forth volleyball, Schouten ended game two at 25-20 with a well-placed kill that crashed into the fingertips of opposing blockers before flying out-of-bounds.
It seemed as though the Devils would sweep Sheldon after starting off game three with a six-point serving run by Ribeiro and impressive kills by Smith and Schouten.
However, Sheldon refused to roll over and die, answering Davis with a serving run of its own. A series of unforced errors by DHS and powerful kills by Sheldon caused the Devils to lose the third set 25-23.
After losing its momentum in game three, Davis let the low energy roll into its fourth set as it continued to make unforced errors, ultimately losing the game 25-22.
After suffering two close loses, energy was low for the Devils and they meandered onto the court for game five.
The Devils managed to tie the game 2-2 only to commit five hitting errors in a row, allowing Sheldon a lead of 7-2.
Sheldon was already halfway to the 15 points it needed to win the match when the Devils turned up their intensity. A one-handed dig by Smith, which the team managed to scoop out of the net and kill, got the crowd onto its feet.
The Blue Devils celebrated in their roaring gym–and this set the scene for the rest of the night.
Huge hits by McConnel and Schouten kept the Devils neck and neck with Sheldon and the crowd on edge. Relentless playing by both Sheldon and Davis tied the score at 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17 and 18 points.
After fighting long and hard, the Devils won the fifth game 20-18, earning a victory.
“It shouldn’t have ever gotten that close,” Sorter said. “I think that just overall communication is a big thing that we need to work on.”
Balmes agrees that his team has room to improve. He believes that his team could be stronger mentally, and play more consistently.
“This is good for us, as long as we learn from our mistakes,” Balmes said. “We’ll be stronger because of this.”