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February 2, 2023

V-ballers show heart in victory

Sometimes, one has to play for pride. Sometimes, it’s playing
for plain, old-fashioned respect.
Sometimes, one has to play for pride. Sometimes, it’s playing for plain, old-fashioned respect.

With not much on the line except the aforementioned, the Hollister High boys volleyball team reached down inside Wednesday for an 8-15, 15-11, 10-15, 15-12 15-4 molar-puller of Palma at Mattson Gym as the Tri-County Athletic League season nears end.

The Balers (11-14, 5-8) finish the year this Friday at home vs. Salinas. Two of the team’s three seniors – Brannon Wynn and Travis Fowles – were factors in outlasting the Chieftains. Wynn had a team-high 16 kills, while Fowles had 13 kills.

Game one was a yawner, which had more do-overs than the movie “City Slickers”. Palma’s Chris Walker made his presence felt at the net on his way to a match-high 21 kills.

The Balers took off slowly, as well, in game two, getting down as much as 10-3. But, behind the serving of Wynn, the Balers made a decisive run.

Nathan Thome, who had a fine all-around game, had a kill off a Chieftains’ freeball for 6-10. Jeff Hawks set Tomas Rebecchi nicely for 8-10. A tap at the net for 9-10 and it was timeout Palma.

Fowles executed a block at the net for 10-10. Thome’s service ace made it 14-10 Balers. The Chieftains (7-7, 6-7) hit the next ball out and the Balers had evened the score.

Game four was pivotal. The Balers, up 10-3, withstood a Palma run which saw the Chieftains come all the way back to tie it at 10-10. After a lengthy rally, Fowles found a hole for 12-11. Thome’s service went non-returned. Rebecchi’s tap at the net eventually won the game, setting up a winner-take-all rally scoring.

The Chieftains really collapsed here under some tough Baler serving. Edward Kauffman, one of the smallest players on the court, led the charge for the Balers. Kauffman, who jammed his thumb badly in the first game, played like he was possessed, swinging with authority for two straight kills to give the Balers a 4-0 lead.

Then, on the service line, Kauffman delivered three straight aces for 9-1, despite a Chieftains’ timeout at 8-1. Wynn boomed a kill for 11-1. The Chieftains made it 12-2, but not before the best dig of the match, courtesy of a diving Kauffman, who skidded three feet on the hardwood.

An ace by the Chieftains Trent Williamson temporarily slowed down the Baler rush, but a Rebecchi kill off a freeball stabilized things at 14-3. The Chieftains were tagged with a violation after hitting the ball outside the antennae and the Balers – who lost in five games at Palma on April 4 – had won an improbable rematch.

“I think we got a little overconfident,” said Palma coach John Gentle. “And every overpass we had went right to their hitters. We tried to stay away from Wynn, but we didn’t do a very good job of it.”

“It usually takes us a long time to warm up,” said Wynn, who will be sorely missed next season. “Once we did we played well.”

Baler head coach Henke Mao had a rare smile on his face after the match.

“We didn’t give up. That’s why we won,” said Mao. “We served really well in that last game and blocked well, too.”

Fowles said his club should be ready for the last game of the season and his last game as a Baler.

“We hope to play our best,” said Fowles. “Especially since it’s our last game.”

Baler bits: Friday’s match starts at 5:30 p.m. because Salinas does not have a junior varsity team. – The third senior for the Balers is Ignacio Vallejo Jr. – Hawks contributed heavily for the Balers, especially at the service line.

JV score: Anthony Parcell put down the winning point for the Balers, who won 13-15, 15-11, 15-11. Coach Sue Grogan praised Parcell and Jon Crepeau for fine play.

Staff Report
A staff member edited this provided article.

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