Boys’ Volleyball Comes up Short in Game of the Week


Photo by Annie Qiao

Middle blocker and junior Saif Habibeh leaps up in position to spike a ball from setter and junior Shivank Gupta during the second set; this time, players like Habibeh were able to score points against Irvine High due to a renewed sense of vigor and determination that put the Bulldogs ahead by a few points at one time.

Naomi Luper and Annie Qiao

Boys’ volleyball (13-17) lost 0-3 against Irvine High April 19’s Game of the Week, marking the end of one of the team’s final games this season. Since this week’s theme was “Black-out,” a crowd of students and parents donned in black cheered wildly for every point the Bulldogs scored.

“That was not the best we played this season, which was a little disappointing because we had the biggest crowd this season, so this was definitely an opportunity to show the school how much better we got,” head coach Eric Graham said.

The game kicked off with the Bulldogs serving first. The set was fast-paced, with both teams putting up solid blocks and strong swings, ending with a final score of 20-25.

“I think we were prepared, but the more we lost, the more lack of confidence we had,” setter and junior Nolan Nam said. “We worked hard in the beginning, but the more we saw better teams, we got down on ourselves, and we tried to recover that, but it didn’t work out as we planned.”

The second set began with greater focus from the players, and the Bulldogs had a strong start with the team up five points at one time thanks to players like opposite and junior Omar Habibeh who have not gotten much play time recently.

Unfortunately, Irvine High was able to make a comeback. The set, which was at one point neck-and-neck, ended 21-25, a result that Graham attributes to a loss of focus and mental strength.

“Volleyball is a game of errors; almost every point is ended on an error,” Graham said. “So even if the other team does something good, you probably could have done something to prevent it. If every point ends on an error, you have to be able to get over that point and move onto the next one. I would say that’s something that we don’t do a great job of. That will come with experience and more confidence.”

Despite the best efforts of the players, the third set ended 17-25. For future games and next season, co-captain and junior Belal Zahran and Graham said they hope the team will place more focus on fundamental skills and a mental fortitude toughness.

“I’m really proud of us, and I’m impressed,” Zahran said. “We actually did really well [this season]. We’re usually considered the underdogs, but not this time.”