Kyla Wilcher
ASU Student Journalist

Padres boys volleyball bests the Jaguars at home

March 19, 2019 by Kyla Wilcher, Arizona State University

Joe Schuller (15) hits the ball as Jaguars get ready to block. (Photo: Kyla Wilcher/AZPreps365)

Marcos de Niza boys volleyball snapped a three-game losing streak with a win Tuesday against South Mountain.

The Padres (2-4, 0-0) beat the Jaguars 3-1 to earn their second home win of the season.

Coach Steve Hammond credited the win to the Padres learning from teams with more defensive playing.

“We’ve played some 3-and-out, getting our brains beaten in kind of matches,” Hammond said. “The question today was ‘What have we learned?’ And we’ve learned enough to beat a team like South Mountain.”

The Padres won the first set after capitalizing on a number of early errors by the Jaguars (2-7, 0-0). Gameplay was back and forth while the teams reached a 15-15 tie. Marcos de Niza then created a comfortable 20-16 lead after a string of pass errors changed the tempo of the set.

Despite a service error late in the set, Marcos de Niza pulled out a win, 25-21.

The Jaguars took the second set, utilizing Damarion Pouncil’s four blocks to earn a 25-17 win.

South Mountain coach Falonia Edenburgs said that a positive attitude helped the team make some key plays.

“Everybody was covering, and they started to communicate,” she said. “Once they started to have fun, they stopped thinking about their mistakes, and they started to do it right.”

The third set quickly went in favor of Marcos de Niza. Senior Alex Wong started the match serving and helped the Padres take an early 5-0 lead. The Padres kept the momentum going, and an ace from Wong later in the set energized the team further. Two errors by the Jaguars closed out the set, with the Padres winning 25-13.

Coming off a loss in the second set, Wong said that staying focused helped his serving momentum early in the third.

“It’s important to get your serves in and keep a positive attitude,” he said. “Volleyball is all about mentality. If you get yourself down, you’re going to play down.”

The fourth set saw the heaviest offense of the match. The Padres and the Jaguars went point-for-point from the start, with most of South Mountain’s points resulting from Marcos de Niza’s pass errors.

Marcos de Niza called a timeout with the set tied at 21-21. Hammond said he used the time to encourage the team to defend the point.

“We just needed to make little adjustments, since they were doing an excellent job of tipping over us,” he said.

South Mountain’s Dametrius Hardeman kept the Jaguars competitive, putting up a kill and a hit for a 23-21 lead. Three consecutive errors by the Jaguars put the Padres poised to win, and Wong served the game-winning point to end the contentious set, 25-23.

Wong said the last set was “crazy,” and since he knew that it would be a close call, he was pleased the hard work was paying off.

“We’re really coming together, and our swings are finally coming through,” he said. “Next game, I think we’re going to be ready.”

Hammond said the young team worked on developing more fundamental skills this match, and he is looking forward to improving the team’s comfort with the sport.

“The third and last sets we definitely had to go with a little stronger lineup,” he said. “But overall, we’re really trying to get everybody out there and involved, because we’re trying to develop a program.”

The Padres next match will be Thursday night at Betty H. Fairfax.