Malden in the middle of an intense play. Photo by Sara Zakaria.
Malden High’s Boys Volleyball team scored another win at a home game on Monday against Essex Tech with a score of 3-0. The team has been riding on a wave of wins so far, with only a minimal amount of losses to date.
Despite the team’s win, Essex Tech proved to be a challenging opponent, according to junior Gabriel Madeira and senior Kamal Moussa. One of the factors that made Essex Tech a challenging team was the fact that they are a “states contender”, according to Moussa. Fortunately, Malden High was able to “work together” and “make good plays” to win the game said Madeira.
Before the game, Madeira said that the team was ready to go and “prepared to play.” Coach Daniel Jurkowski said that the preparation for the game “always starts in practice, and continues in pregame warmups.” Jurkowski felt that the team had “a great warmup” before the game. He adds that the team was “focused” and “ready to play. Moussa said that the team already had an instinct that it “was not going to be an easy game”, which motivated the team to work hard at practice to “overcome any of [the] simple mistakes [they] make.”
During the game, the team faced several challenges. Madeira said that one of the challenges was “adjusting out attacks” and making sure the team did not let anything “go out on their side.” Moussa felt that the game was definitely “difficult” due to the talent level of the other team. The team faced “a bit of a slow start”, but were able to bring the game back, and won all three sets. In general, the team played well on the court and it was just “a matter of communicating and finishing the plays”, Madeira said. Coach Jurkowski acknowledged the “communication issues”, and the missed serves, but assured that the game overall was “an encouraging performance”.
The intensity of the match was proven in the roster, due to the fact that only the starting players were able to play, according to Moussa. “It was a very tight game”, Moussa said. Madeira agreed, saying that the match was “tough”, and it was crucial to have the “best players” on the court.
The game had a plethora of great performances, but the players who stood out the most was junior Ryoma Yonetani and senior Arthur Kossoski. Madeira said that although the rest of the team played “amazingly”, Kossoski and Yonetani were the ones who had a stellar performance in particular, with Yonetani “creating chances” and Kossoski “getting us points from those plays.”
Jurkowski and Moussa also mentioned Kossoski and Yonetani, but sophomore Zhenhong Deng was also another player who had a great performance. Deng did a “great job” hitting for the team, along with setter Yonetani. Jurkowski also mentioned seniors Marcelo Junior and Peter Teixeira Monteiro in terms of defense. He further mentioned sophomore Tenzin Shakya and seniors Felipe Niero, Marron Acheampong also making positive contributions to the game.
The aspects of the game that the players wishes would have went differently was the communication and how they used their skills. Madeira said that even though the team relatively played well and were able to secure a win, the team could have communicated better together. Moussa said that the team was “a bit sloppy” when it came to serves, and were also getting “tip balls” from the other team.
On how they could use this game as a building block for the rest of the season, Madeira said that the team could use this game to “look at our mistakes” and adjust to “work on our plays”. The team could also make sure to “get the ball over the net” and not to let anything touch the ground. Moussa said that the team could use this game as a way to help improve themselves, and to help improve facing tough opponents and “keeping our composure in check”. Jurkowski said that the team’s expectations remain the same, which is to “win [their] league” and secure a spot in the state tournament. Jurkowski said that the team “still [has] a lot of work to do”, but are surely headed in the right direction.