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NVASeasonFull Recap of the Texas Tyrants’ First Debut in San Bernadino, California

May 4, 20210

Day 1 Match #2 

Ramblers Gun Down Tyrants in 3 Sets

Ramblers started the 2021 season with two new players in their starting line up, OH Brandon Rattray and setter Michael Keegan. Rattray played in Spain and led the league in kills and kills per set. It didn’t take long for Keegan and Rattray to connect. Keegan was not shy about feeding Rattray right off the bat. And Rattray responded with kill after kill. Rattray’s play also pumped up his teammates and raised the level of their game. 

While the Tyrants gave their best effort with solid play from outside hitter Gianluca Grasso, who led the team with 7 kills and 2 block points and opposite Tim Johnson with 5 kills, Ramblers played almost flawless volleyball. They played like a well-oiled 7-cylinder engine. Everyone played a solid game on offense and defense. A play by libero Ryan Manoogian epitomized the Ramblers’ tenacious defensive performance. After a Rambler teammate ricocheted a ball off his shoulder, Manoogain reached out with one hand that set Ryan Mather for the kill. 

As the match went on Keegan shared the wealth on offense with Aguillard, Duarte, Ryan Schickling and Mather. The Ramblers’ middles Josh Duarte and Antwain Aguillard played a solid game at the net collecting touches to help their defense dig balls. Duarte reeled off his own highlight film in the beginning of the third set. He chickened wing a ball to help his teammates earn a point. Then followed up with a block and a kill.

Although the Tyrants played good defense they just didn’t have the same fire power as the Ramblers whose hitting percentage was 57% versus the Tyrants’ 33%. Rattray led all players with 17 kills and added 2 blocks. The final scores were 25-18, 25-18 and 25-16.


Day 2, Match #2

Tyrants’ Steady, Tenacious Defensive Contributed to Win Against Stunners

Stunners Libero Jake Hurtwitz joined the team, which made Matt Hilling available to play OH. The other lineup change was Nick West at MB. The Tyrants also made a lineup change from Friday’s match and started Anthony Robinson at OH and Ryan Maune at MB. 

Stunners’ setter Spence Andrews didn’t waste any time setting Hilling for the first kill, followed with kills by Nick West, Joey Jarvis. Tyrants countered with kills by Austin Lovett, Tim Johnson and Robinson to keep the score close. At 13-13 Hilling had a run of three kills and the Tyrants answered back with a series of blocks by Johnson, Maune and Robinson to keep the score tied. But a run of three kills by Jarvis gave the Stunners a three point lead at 21-18. Good Tyrants’ defense and kills by Johnson and Lovett tied the score at 21-21 and then Tyrants took the lead on a kill by Lovett 22-21. A kill by Hilling tied the set and started a service run that began with a Tyrant overpass and kill by Jarvis that gave the Stunners a 24-22 lead. Johnson followed with a kill to 24-23. And Jarvis won a joust to win the set for the Stunners 25-23.

In set two Javier Santiago started hot with 2 consecutive kills followed by a Nick Amado ace. Tyrants countered with a Grasso kill, block by setter Derrick Sullivan and two consecutive kills and a block by Tim Johnson. Andrews set Hilling for two consecutive kills. And after a West ace the Stunners had a three point lead at 11-8. Tyrants came back with kills by Robinson and Johnson and a block by Sullivan and tied the score at 14-14.  The rest of the set turned into a slugfest with a Stunner run of kills by Hilling and Santiago. Tyrants answered with kills by Grasso, Robinson and Johnson to take the lead 24-22. Santiago followed with two service aces to tie 24-24. But the Tyrants sided-out on a Johnson kill and then won the set on a transition play and tip kill by Johnson. 

Despite the tough second set lost the Stunners came out firing. Andrews decided to feed his outside hitters first.  Hilling, Santiago and Jarvis. Tyrants’ setter started his offense with Johnson and Grasso and Robinson added a block to take the lead 8-7. In the next nine Stunner possessions, Hilling had six of the kills and one each from Santiago, Jarvis and Amado. On the other side of the court Johnson, Robinson and Grasso had 2 kills each; and OH Daniel Jacobs and Maune each had a kill. With Stunners ahead 15-14 Nick West had two consecutive blocks and an ace to give the Stunners a 24-20 lead. Like the last set the Stunners struggled to side out and Tyrants took full advantage and tied the score with a Robinson kill and block; and a Johnson kill and Maune block. Amado and Hilling answered with one kill each and tied the score at 27-27. The Tyrants won on the next two points on a Grasso kill and block 29-27. 

Both teams sided out well in the beginning of the fourth set. Stunners scored with 4 kills by Hilling, and one kill by Jarvis and a block by West. Tyrants answered with two kills by Grasso and one each by Robinson and Lovett led to a 6-6 tie. At 10-10 the Tyrants took a three point lead with a block by Maune and kills by Grasso and Johnson. The Stunners countered with two Hilling kills, one West kill and block by Santiago to tie the score 16-16. But the Tyrants’ defense gave their offense opportunities to build a three point lead at 21-18. The Stunners only scored one more point and the Tyrants closed out the match with a kill by Daniel Jacobs, ace by Maune, block by Grasso and  the match ended on a Stunners’ net call 25-19.

In the loss Hilling led in kills with 22, Santiago 12 and Jarvis 9. The Stunners hit 39%. For the Tyrants Johnson and Grasso tied with 18 kills each and Robinson added 6 kills and the Tyrants hit 45%. 


Day 3, Match #1

Stingers Scored Points When It Counted to Overcome Valiant Effort by Tyrants

Both teams started the match with error free volleyball. Tyrants established the middle with Ryan Maune who scored their first two points. Stingers countered with middle blocker, Rusty Lavaja and Jake Langlois. Despite Tyrants’ kills by Gianluca Grasso and Anthony Robinson, two Tyrants’ service errors and Stingers’ kills by Jorge Mencia, Novel Romero, Lavaja and a Leo Durkin block gave the Stingers a three point lead before the media timeout 8-5. A string of errors by the Tyrants helped the the Stingers add to their lead after kills by Mencia and Langlois 11-6. But Tyrants rallied back with a block by Robinson and service aces from Grasso and Maune to cut the lead to 13-12. After a Johnson net, the Stingers with strong serves forced the Tyrants to play out of system and increased their lead again with two kills from Romero, one by Mencia and a Langlois block to 20-15. The Tyrants attempted a comeback with a short rally on two kills by Robinson, one by Grasso and Lovett block. Stingers countered with kills and block by Langlois; and then closed out the set with a Lavaja block for a 25-21 win. 

In set two Tyrants started strong and took a 6-5 lead with a Grasso ace and kill and two kills by Robinson. Stingers countered with Langlois, two consecutive middle block kills by Alex Shmelev and kill by Mencia. Stingers struggled with their passing and gave the Tyrants opportunities to score points from a couple of free and down balls. Kills by Johnson and middle blocker Austen Lovett, followed by a Lovett ace and Robinson block gave Tyrants a 9-6 lead. Tyrants sided out well and kept their lead. One of the highlights of the match occurred at 12-9. After a coverage dig on a Stingers block Durkin set Langlois but instead of spiking the ball he jump set back to Durkin for a rare setter kill. Nevertheless, the Tyrants added to their lead before the second media timeout at 16-12. At 18-15 after Tyrants couldn’t side out, kills by Romero, Mencia and Langlois sparked a Stingers comeback to tie 18-18. After both teams sided-out to 25-25, Stingers closed out the set with a behind the head spike by Langlois and Johnson error to 27-25. 

Like set two the Tyrants took an early 8-7 lead in third set with kills by Grasso, Daniel Jacobs and Robinson. Stringers countered with kills by Langlois, Mencia and Shmelev, who also added a block. At 14-12 consecutive blocks by Shmelev helped the Stingers launch a comeback to tie 16-16. Tyrants and Stingers exchanged leads with kills by Robinson, Grasso and Johnson for the Tyrants; and Mencia, Romero, Langlois and Lavaja for the Stingers. At 19-19 a Tyrants’ error and Lavaja block gave the Stingers a 21-19 lead. Stingers won the match 25-22 after a Lavaja and Langlois kill.

For the Tyrants Grasso led his team with 11 kills, Johnson 9, and Robinson and Jacobs with 6 each. Tyrants had 7 blocks and hit 45%. The stingers were led by Langlois with 14 kills, Mencia 9, Lavaja 7, Romero 6 and Shmelev 5. Stingers had 5 blocks and hit 51%. The Stingers finished the weekend event with a record of 3-0 while the Tyrants finished 1-2. 




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