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A young and injury-riddled Gateway varsity boys volleyball team didn't have enough fire power to overtake playoff-bound Plum in its Section 3-AAA and season finale last Thursday at Plum High School.
While the Mustangs celebrated their senior night with five seniors honored, the Gators played the game, and the season, with no seniors on the roster.
Plum took games one and two by 25-10 scores and closed out the match with a 25-11 decision in game three.
“We came in knowing Plum is a good team, and on our best night with everyone in the lineup, we know we could keep up with them,” Gateway head coach Jay Wu said.
“Unfortunately, it wasn't our best night.”
A couple of weeks ago, starting sophomore setter Nate Cain went down with an injury.
Then, sophomore right side hitter Joe Klonicki and sophomore middle hitter Rizky Sriharto, both starters this season, went out of the lineup because of injury.
“After Nate, they started falling like flies, and that really hurt us,” Wu said.
“All three were major contributors. When you lose starters like that, you're digging deep to find backups, and it takes time to get everyone on the same page. You do what you can. A lot of guys got some good experience that should help us down the road.”
Gateway finished its season 0-12 in section play.
“Time and experience is what we were lacking,” Wu said.
Wu said that he is optimistic that with a whole season of playing together and an offseason of work, the team should be improved in 2014.
“They've been through a whole season, and the younger guys and first-year guys know what the sport is like at the varsity level,” Wu said. “They understand how fast it is and how hard people hit. With that in mind, they will be better prepared for next year.”
Michael Love is a staff writer with Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5825 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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