On Wednesday, the boys were handed their first league loss by the Centurions of University City. The first two sets were close losses for Parker, ending 21-25 and 23-25. Refusing to give up, the boys battled, scrapped, and clawed their way back into the match, taking Set 3 25-18, and Set 4 27-25 before ultimately falling 13-15 in the fifth. It was a wonderful effort by the Lancers, including several impressive plays by many of our boys.
Both of our serving subs stepped up, with Suraj Srinavasan including an ace and a dig in his run. Andreas Cardenas-Marouf held a 90 in-percentage with his 10 serves. Jackson DeWitt had 17 digs and also put up impressive serving numbers, with an ace of his own and a 95.8 in-percentage for his 24 serves. But our star server in this match was Adam Nussbaum, who had 2 aces, and made all of his 29 serves. These numbers are especially impressive when one remembers that he hit seven of these serves when UC had match point. The boys again showed their grit as they closed in on a 18-24 deficit in Set 4, ultimately winning 27-25. It was not the first 18-24 comeback in Parker volleyball history, but it was the first on the boys’ side. We are so proud of them for this amazing show of resilience, determination, and teamwork.
Adam’s serving merely complemented an excellent match for him in all areas of the game. He also had 2 kills, 2 blocks, 4 digs, and 56 assists. Not many players could do that after being away for a week because they were busy being impressive somewhere else. But in this match, and in Billy Harrington’s words that he asked me to write on my board, he was right there. As was Billy, who put up 2 kills and 4 blocks. Ben Sheres finally broke the middle kill tie by scoring 3, and picked up 4 digs.
Joining in the ranks of middles, and former middles, who can defend was Bijan Sagart, who took dig leader with 18. At one point, the spirit of Scott Sterling possessed him when he took a ball off his face for a beautiful dig. Bijan’s defense extended to his net game, where he had 2 blocks. He was also a major offensive contributor with 11 kills, sealing his first double double. Our other major offensive contributor was Nick Gustafson, who had 41 kills, shattering his previous record. This excellent number carried a 449 hitting average. Nick was also a member of the 2 Block Brigade, had the highest passing average, and nabbed 14 digs for another double double. As Chris Nawrocki said at least twice during the match: “Who run the world? Nick.”
A loss is never easy, and it was hard to drop such a close one, but we are nothing but proud of our boys. Their reactions at the conclusion of the match show they truly left everything on the court. Their composure, effort, and encouragement of each other kept them in this battle of a match. Despite the result, it will remain a special memory for its exemplification of what amazing players and teammates our boys are.
Thank you to the fans, parents, and faculty who cheered us on. Thank you to our off blocker defense for showing up finally, and thank you to the boys for being patient with Sam and her whiteboard. Stay tuned for a recap of the West Coast Challenge!
by Sam Deddeh