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Volleyball squad improves to 14-2

Thursday, May 10, 2018 by Steve andres Special to the Press in Sports

All ready down a set to Nazareth, the Zephyr volleyball team were in danger of dropping the next set, but took on the role of the comeback kids as they rallied late in the next two sets, paving the way to their 14th win of the season.

The Zephyrs looked out of sync in the first set, losing 15-25. But as the second set unfolded, they began to get some big plays from a number of players, including Joe Herman whose hustle dig sprinting toward the back line to draw them even at 8-8 set the tone for a spirited set that helped change the course of the match. That set also featured some big blocks from Hunter Pinkey, kills from Sami Barhoum, Herman, Dylan McGinley and Alex Khouri, and a Melosky ace that knotted the score 23-23. Melosky’s ace, which he tucked inside the back line, was part of a four-point run that pulled the Zephyrs out of a 19-33 deficit.

They surged ahead on a tip by Pinkey to make it 24-23, and then traded points with the Eagles until they registered a game-winning block for the 28-26 victory.

They had to pull off another come-from-behind win in the third set, this time fighting back from a three-point deficit that saw then trailing 19-22. With crucial kills by Herman, McGinley and Khouri, they staved off elimination twice before Khouri ended the set with a block that netted them the 28-26 win.

The fourth set saw a departure from the previous two as the Zephyrs led the entire way, withstanding a late Blue Eagle rally for the 26-24 victory to win the match in four sets.

Herman said that the first set served as a wake-up call.

“After the first set we got smacked in the face, and we were like, ‘You know what, we can either go away or stay with it,’ and we decided to never give up and keep pushing,” said Herman who finished with 19 kills, eight digs and two aces.

Herman was all over the court, hitting winners at the net, and chasing down balls with digs that kept points alive. He said the turning point came in that second set when they began to turn things around, working together to erase Nazareth’s lead and then riding that wave to a win.

“That gave us a lot of confidence,” said Herman. “It kept us going throughout the whole game.”

What underscored the win in that pivotal second set was their ability to keep balls from hitting the floor. Both Herman and Barhoum, who had 10 digs to lead the team, did an excellent job keeping points alive.

“Our digging was excellent,” said Herman. “It was the best that we had all year. Our coaches preach it every day in practice. That’s what we did, and as you could see we got to a lot of balls.”

Melosky was also an integral part of those points as he set up his front row time and again, helping Khouri register nine kills and Barhoum netting eight. He finished with 37 assists, six digs, and six aces.

With the win, the Zephyrs swept the season series with the Blue Eagles. They’re now 14-2 on the year with two more matches (one after Press time) remaining.

The Zephyrs also had to overcome the absence of Ethan Parvel who is no longer with the team. They got contributions from everyone on their roster, including Aziz Atiyeh, Alexander Haydar and Alex Rummel.

Herman said that it’s imperative that they keep pushing forward with this new lineup. He said he sees this group rising and nothing’s going to derail that.