After the boys’ volleyball team ran through the tunnel created by cheering Foothill students, the game was ready to begin. The team competed on their home court at the Cabrillo Middle School Gym against Bishop Garcia Diego High School on Tuesday night. Despite the team’s efforts, they lost 0-3 with individual set scores of 18-25, 16-25, and 18-25.
Kyle Cobian ‘18 served the ball, signaling the start to the match. The Dragons scored the first two points of the game, giving them a slight lead. Despite Dylan More’s (‘18) save, the rally eventually ended with a point awarded to the Cardinals causing the Dragons to fall slightly behind.
Tanner Nodolf ‘18 felt that the team played well but lacked communication and struggled with passing. However, he believed that this was partially due to the fact that two of his teammates were sick and unable to play, causing other players to have to take over new positions that they don’t normally play.
After a timeout, the Cardinals served the ball and Chad Talaugon ‘18 won another point for the Dragons when the ball bounced off his opponent’s blockers and went out of bounds. Tommy Hurley ‘18 then served an ace to tie the score 8-8. Both teams battled back and forth and the teams were neck-and-neck. However, the Cardinals came out on top, winning the first set with a set score of 18-25.
Talaugon believes that the team was “pretty scared” and “out of sorts” because of the fact that two of their key players were absent and other players were playing in positions that were foreign to them. He felt that overall the team didn’t struggle physically, but they struggled mentally.
“We were pretty scared, it was pretty obvious,” he said. “It’s not really more of a physical thing we need to improve on, it’s more of a mental thing because we were playing too much in our heads today and we didn’t get excited when we needed to get excited.”
Both teams switched to the opposite sides of the court and the second set began with a Cardinal serve. Unlike the first set, the Dragons were behind 0-4 until More spiked the ball and won a point for his team. The Dragons began to tighten the lead by scoring three consecutive points, bringing the score to 4-6. The game began to slow down and the Dragons were unable to take control of the game. Despite the team’s efforts, the team lost the second set with a score of 16-25.
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Although the team lost, Coach Janine Cobian felt that the team played “fantastic” and competed well against the hardest team in their league. After speaking with the opposing coach, she was pleased with his remarks and with her team.
“The [opposing] coach told me [that] he never put subs in, he kept his strongest rotations in and that’s a good thing; that makes us happy,” she said. “That means that we were actually pushing his team.”
The third set began with both the serve and point awarded to Kyle Cobian. Collin Weaver ‘18 was then able to score the fourth point for the Dragons, finishing off the third consecutive point scored by the Dragons.
However, the Cardinals fought back, scoring five consecutive points, gaining a 6-8 lead. The set was tight and both teams took turns scoring. However, the Cardinals were able to maintain a lead throughout the rest of the set. The Dragons were defeated in the final set 18-35 and lost the game 0-3.
Because Foothill athletics began in the fall of 2014, the current juniors were freshmen when the program began. Being that all of the current team, with the exception of two, are juniors, the majority of the team has been playing varsity together since freshmen year. According to Cobian, the team still thinks of themselves as a new team even though she feels that they are no longer new because they now have two years of experience under the belt.
“I think they still think they’re the team of two years ago when they’re just learning,” she said. They’re not learning anymore, they’ve been playing volleyball for a long time and a lot of volleyball.”
She believes that the team needs to use their experience to their advantage and not become intimidated by the height and power that their competition possesses. She feels that that was one reason as to why the team struggles throughout the game. However, despite this insecurity, Cobian expects the team to improve and become more confident in their play and in themselves.
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Although Talaugon feels that the ultimate team goal is to improve and play their best each game, he feels that this is the year to step up their level of play and live up to their expectations.
As he reflected on freshmen year, he remembered the team’s competition telling him that they expect Foothill to be very competitive his senior year. According to Talaugon, the team is “getting there and we’re almost at the end of the rope so we got to start living up to our expectations.”