LIVINGSTON, NJ - The Lancer Boys Volleyball Team met SEC Conference rival Bloomfield on Friday, in a match between unbeaten teams. It was a close match throughout, and Bengals (5-0) remained unbeaten, prevailing in a decisive third game.
In game one, Bloomfield edged out to a 9-6 lead with some timely hitting. The Lancers were unable to draw closer throughout the rest of the game, as the Bengals built an eight-point lead at one point. Coach Partelow tried some lineup changes, to no avail, and the Lancers lost game one, 25-19.
The Lancers (5-1) did not go down quietly. Livingston came back strong in Game 2 with a total team effort. Sophomore Jack Rulka took the serve with a 13-10 lead, and after six consecutive points, the Lancers had a comfortable nine-point lead. Outside hitter Jason Levine, with eight kills on the day, served for the win in game two.
The third and decisive game was close early and still tied at 12-12. At this point, Bloomfield began to pull away. The Bengals began to find holes in the Lancer defense and soon built a 20-14 lead. The Lancers did not get much closer the rest of the way, eventually losing 25-21 in the third game. Senior David Shulman said he felt that, “In game three, we were playing not to lose, instead of playing to win.”
Several Lancers played well in defeat. Senior hitter Mike Cheng led all Lancers with 12 kills, continuing his impressive season. Senior middle blocker Tom Montesion was his usual dominant self, compiling seven kills and five blocks. Setter Shulman tallied 27 assists to go with his eight digs on defense. Libero Kevin Cheng paced Livingston with 12 digs. Rulka and Junior Matt Brown added eight and seven digs respectively. Senior Bryan Sorrentino proved to be a force in the middle, chipping in with two blocks. After the loss, Coach Partelow stated, “We were beaten by a good team today, which is better than losing to a bad team. We need to be a little more consistent on defense, and can’t expect to go out and win every game. We have a long season and will see them again.”
Livingston will see Bloomfield again, and will likely have to beat them in Bloomfield to retain the conference title. Mike Cheng stated, “Individually, we all played well, but we need more communication and time playing together.” Cheng’s quote makes a lot of sense, as Livingston only has one returning starter from last year’s squad. As the season moves on, the Lancers will gain experience playing together.
The Lancers get back on the court next Wednesday, April 16, at West Essex High School. The match will start at 4:00 p.m.
On Saturday April 19, Livingston will host an exciting quad match. Traditionally strong teams Old Bridge, Eastern, and Bayonne will each play the Lancers in separate two out of three matches. The quad match will start at 9:00 a.m.