Seeing as it was playfully dubbed “Ian Overton Night,” it’s no surprise that at six o’clock on Tuesday, a gym full of eyes were on the only senior on the Foothill boys’ volleyball team, Ian Overton ‘17.
Why all the fuss? Tuesday’s game against Malibu High School marked the last home game of the regular season, which, by sporting tradition, makes it Senior Night, a time to shine a spotlight on the team’s beloved seniors. Or, in this case, senior.
The spirits of Senior Night, however high, didn’t detract from every game’s objective: win, though they certainly capped it off. The Dragons’ win against the Malibu Sharks in a swift three sets, with scores of 25-9, 25-9 and 25-17, surely tasted a little sweeter.
Because of Senior Night, “there was a lot of excitement, but they still stayed composed and they played really, really well,”Assistant Coach Oscar Cobian said. “Everything worked out just great for us.”
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/320816753″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Despite the frenzy of emotions on the Foothill side, it was Malibu who struggled with errors early on and those errors earned Foothill its first two points of the first set. But it wasn’t only errors that boosted Foothill’s score. Dylan More ‘18 scored Foothill’s next two points with two strong hits in the front row to bring them to a 4-1 lead.
The set continued in the same successful fashion, with hits by Chad Talaugon ‘18 and More, plus a diving dig by Overton, all of which sparked loud cheers from the crowd.The score read 19-9 when Collin Weaver ‘18 went back to serve, and his consecutive serves, which led to a big hit by Talaugon and two kills by Stefan Fahr ‘19, brought the Dragons home in the first set.
“I think we played pretty well all around,” said Weaver. “Our hitting was there, our passing was there, our digging and serving was there for sure so we were proud of ourselves.”
Their serving really shined in the second set, with Kyle Cobian ‘18 serving six in a row to start it off. His run included two aces and brought the team to a 5-1 lead.
After quickly getting a side out with a hit by Weaver, More had a five serve series with one ace and all other points on errors. After an ace by Jerod Frederick ‘18, Foothill had a 12-2 lead over the Sharks.
After Kyle Cobian struck from the back row, Talaugon added another ace to the board. Overton, the “star player” of the night, also had a serving run. His four included an ace and brought the Dragons a 20-6 lead.
The set, riddled with strong serving, ended with Talaugon’s hit and a score of 25-9.
The team switched it up a bit in the third set and gave Overton a chance to play middle blocker, as opposed to his usual position at libero, which was filled by Logan Flair ‘18.
According to Oscar Cobian, Overton has “always wanted to play front row, but we needed a back row player and he was just too good back there.” However, given the conditions of the game, he and Head Coach Janine Cobian decided to give Overton the opportunity to “to come up in the front and show his skills” because “he can play all positions really,” he said.
The decision seemed to pay off. In the very first play of the set, Overton got a kill, only the seventh of his career, which he was very excited about.
“They were bangers,” he said. “That was really cool.”
After that, things heated up and the Sharks took their first lead of the game with a block, pulling a 2-1 lead. The teams went literally point for point until Kyle Cobian went back to serve. His first serve led to an error on the Malibu side that tied the game at 8-8. He then served six more times, with two more aces, bringing the Dragons a 14-9 lead.
Just after, Overton earned his second kill of the set and eighth kill of his career, which brought More to serve. More’s four serves brought an ace and two kills for Talaugon, one touch and one hit.
Overton later used his back row skills and got a dig that led to More’s hit and the team’s 24th point. The Sharks hung on for a few more points, but ultimately fell 25-17.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/320817066″ params=”color=ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false” width=”100%” height=”166″ iframe=”true” /]
Unlike most games, the Dragons’ primary focus wasn’t just to bring home the ‘W’ but to “just come out here and play for Ian,” as Weaver put it.
For Overton his last home game was “a little bit tragic,” but he didn’t want to focus on that aspect.
“It was a fun team to play and good game overall,” Overton said.
The fun atmosphere that Senior Night provided was a big morale booster for the team. Oscar Cobian hopes that this will help the team as they shift their focus to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Playoffs.
“We hope to continue this run next week,” he said. “Hopefully we can keep this momentum and this fun atmosphere and attitude.”