By Colin Capece ’18
Entering the final stretch of the regular season, the Chaminade varsity volleyball team sought to continue its winning ways and generate momentum heading into the league playoffs, which begin this week. Monday’s afternoon game under the bright lights of the Activity-Athletic Center gymnasium marked the beginning of a pivotal three-match homestand against a trifecta of strong opponents.
The Flyers captured a thrilling five-set victory over Kellenberg Memorial to improve their league record to an impressive 11-2. It was a back-and-forth contest that saw the two teams exchange blows until the Flyers finally landed a knockout punch. The Firebirds took the first and third sets, but the Flyers responded both times, taking sets two and four. The stage was set for a nail-biting, yet exciting final set. The Flyers at last prevailed 25-23 to defeat their Marianist rivals.
After the April 26 game against Holy Trinity, which saw the Crimson and Gold struggle to find their offensive rhythm, the Flyers played with some added fire and garnered a morale-boosting result. The offense returned to its high octane self, as Chaminade’s eight-man rotation worked together like a well-oiled machine. The man of the match was middle hitter Shawn Connell ’18, who led the team with 15 kills and 12 blocks. Tom Butler ’17 added 13 kills of his own, while John Paul Lynch ’18 and Nic Aubry ’18 contributed six blocks each to anchor the Flyer’s front row defense. Fantastic back row defense was played by seniors Alec Brutschin, Matt Darcy, and Will Sanchez. Captains John Chave ’17 and Mark Streiber ’17 had 39 and 18 assists respectively to coordinate the offensive barrage.
The Flyers were back in action this past Wednesday, this time facing familiar foe St. Anthony’s, to whom the Flyers lost during their last match. This time, however, the result of the match was never in doubt. Chaminade captured a convincing three-set victory over the Friars, as the home team put on an offensive clinic. Chave and Streiber piloted the offense to victory once again, combining for 32 assists. The frontline hitters certainly didn’t waste this precision passing by their teammates, slamming home 25 kills to keep the St. Anthony’s defense on their heels all game long. The Friars were never within striking distance, as the Flyers secured first place in the Catholic League as well as the number one seed in the upcoming playoffs.
With a first place regular season finish and top playoff seed locked up, Coach Salvatore Trentacoste decided to rest his starters on Friday, May 5 and give the underclassmen on the team a chance to play in a varsity match. Despite losing in three sets to St. John the Baptist, the younger Flyers gained some valuable court experience and were rewarded for many weeks of hard work in practice. The Flyers have a first round bye in the league playoffs, which consists of two quarterfinal matchups. Chaminade will face the lowest seeded team that advances from the quarterfinal round in a semifinal game on Friday, May 12 at Adelphi University.