Of black cats and the north side

Gilroy’s Adam Supnet fields a serve.

By Ana Patejdl
Hollister
– By the end of the TCAL boys’ volleyball opener between Gilroy
and Hollister, Gilroy coach Craig Martin was wondering whether a
bit of superstition on the part of the Haybalers had helped
determine the outcome of the game.
By Ana Patejdl

Hollister – By the end of the TCAL boys’ volleyball opener between Gilroy and Hollister, Gilroy coach Craig Martin was wondering whether a bit of superstition on the part of the Haybalers had helped determine the outcome of the game.

After the Mustangs and Haybalers had won two games each, Hollister won the coin toss for the fifth and deciding game and made an unorthodox decision: the ‘Balers chose not to serve or receive, but to play on the north side of the court.

“This is the hilarious thing about this gym,” Martin said. “We’ve played them two years now to five games each year. Ten games have been won on that side. I don’t know if it’s a superstition thing, but when they won the toss, they immediately said, ‘We want that side,’ which you never say.”

Superstition or not, the ‘Balers came out with the marathon victory over the ‘Stangs 25-20, 20-25, 25-9, 19-25, 19-17.

“That’s where all our wins were, so I think we felt pretty comfortable on that side,” said Hollister outside hitter Jonathan Crepeau, who had a game-high 15 kills.

The fifth game was dramatic right up to match point, and featured eight lead changes. Unfortunately for the ‘Stangs, they were forced to play the fifth game without Ryan Chisolm, who had to sit out because of a sore left knee. Chisolm had been a huge part of the Mustang attack in the first four games, amassing nine kills.

“I’m really proud of how the team played because we had a whole new lineup for the fifth game, the deciding game,” Martin said.

“A league win is always good,” said Hollister coach Henke Mao. “And Gilroy, they have a lot of kids that play club so it’s a big win for us.”

A kill down the line from Crepeau to make it 15-14 Hollister prompted Gilroy to call a timeout to regroup.

“It’s kind of a lot of pressure,” said Crepeau about being the Haybalers’ go-to guy at the net. “But I think by the end of the year I’ll be able to handle it a lot better because you get more experience.”

The ‘Stangs fought back with kills from Bryan Dempler, Dominic Jackson (4 blocks) and Vinnie DeLorenzo to take a 17-26 lead.

Crepeau answered with another kill to tie the score at 17. A Gilroy net violation put Hollister up by one and in a position to win the match. Hollister’s Nathan Davies was in the right place at the right time for a tip for kill for the win.

After dropping the first game, Gilroy bounced back in the second game to build an 18-10 lead, which was sparked by two kills from outside hitter DeLorenzo, who led the Mustangs with 10 kills, and capped by an ace from setter Patrick Lango (20 assists).

Hollister did close the gap to 16-28, but Gilroy pulled out the 25-20 win in game two.

Some costly errors by the Mustangs allowed Hollister to build a 13-7 lead in the third game. The ‘Balers closed out the third game with a 12-2 run that was highlighted by a block for kill and two service aces off a mean jump serve from outside hitter Adam Salas (8 kills). The ‘Stangs bounced back once again to win the fourth game.

Despite being at a height disadvantage, Hollister was able to overpower a tall Gilroy lineup at the net. Hollister setter Jeff Hawks spread around 35 assists in the match.

“We’re huge,” Martin said . “But I don’t care how big we are (up front), if we can’t pass back here, we’re never going to get the ball up to the setter to set.

“We need to play better, we need to pass better, we need to serve better.”

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