Boys Volleyball vs. FHC Senior Night Recap

The FHN Boys Volleyball team squared off against the FHC Spartans on Thursday, May 7 in a three-game match that proved to be a heavy-weight bout for the Gateway Athletic Conference title. This nail-bitingly close match was also Senior Night for varsity setter Adam Rogan and hitter Gabe Grote. Coming into the match, the Knights of FHN were ranked sixth in the state, and the Spartans of FHC were ranked eighth.

“We felt confident,” Grote said after the match. “We had beaten them twice before. We felt that if we did what we had done before, we could repeat that success.”

The first game was all Spartans. FHC came out slamming down kills left and right with Dylan Ostman and Parker Zelei doing a lot of the damage from above. After a timeout and a late run, the Knights pulled close. In the end, though, FHN fell to FHC by a score of 25-17 in the first game of the match.

“We still felt confident,” Rogan said. “We had already beaten them twice this season. We just needed to pick up the intensity.”

Junior David Hood goes up for a block against FHC's Taylor Summe (photo by Alyssa Savage)
Junior David Hood goes up for a block against FHC’s Taylor Summe (photo by Alyssa Savage)

The Knights did just that. They came out trading points with the Spartans until the score reached a tie at 14. After that, FHN played just like that had all season, sparking a 5-0 run and a timeout by the Spartans’ coach, Mark McAfee. The Knights did not look back after the timeout, closing the game out in a matter of minutes and winning the second game of the match 25-19.

“We had the momentum,” Grote said about his team heading into the third game. “We didn’t play to our best ability in the first game. If we kept doing what we succeeded to do in the second, we would come with a win in the third.”

The third game started a little differently than the first two. FHN was the first team to earn a place on the scoreboard, scoring the first two points. The Knights were also red-hot at the beginning, and they jumped out to a 7-3 lead, prompting a timeout call from FHC.

Coming out of the timeout, things changed. The Spartans came out with a much better offensive scheme, and the game took on a new light. Every time the Knights established a lead, the Spartans would be right there behind them, never allowing more than a four-point lead after the timeout, but never taking the lead until the end of the match loomed near. After knotting the game up at 19 and erasing the three-point deficit, the Spartans began trading points with the Knights. The scoring alternated every other point from a tie at 19 to a tie at 24, where FHC forced a deuce scenario. In the deuce, the Spartans scored two points in a row to win the third game of the match 26-24.

“I feel like we have to build off of this,” Rogan said following the loss. “This really brings us back to reality. We have to work harder.”

The FHC victory means that they are the 2015 Gateway Athletic Conference Champions, while FHN will be forced to play in a tougher bracket as a lower seed come time for the District Tournament. One bright side for FHN is that the Knights now have a tough match off that they can base their training and preparation for the tough opponents that they will face in Districts. Rogan said it perfectly in the above quote; this match shows the Knights that not everything will be easy, but they are still remaining confident and hopeful for the postseason.

“It was a heartbreaking loss,” Grote said. “We just have to keep our heads high and move on to the next games. If we play to our best ability, then we will reach our maximum outcome.”