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Sharks retake match in final sets against Carpinteria

Jonathan Baldwin serves against Carpenteria on Thursday, March 13, at Malibu High School. Photo by Stephanie Chaisson/22nd Century Media
Jonathan Baldwin (left) and Chris Hall (middle) step back while Chris Papavassiliou attempts to spike against Carpenteria on Thursday, March 13, at Malibu High School. Photo by Stephanie Chaisson/22nd Century Media
Ashleigh Fryer, Senior Editor
1:53 pm PDT March 17, 2014

The Malibu High School boys volleyball team fought for a comeback against Carpinteria in their first league game on Thursday, March 13, besting the Warriors in three of five sets.

The victory had the players, alternates and coaches swarming the court in celebration after the boys came back from a two-set deficit to beat the Warriors on the Sharks home turf.

The Sharks, who had only played one preseason match against Pacifica prior to their first league face-off on Wednesday, were coming off a defeat in which Pacifica dominated them in three sets. 

“They were nervous, you could see the jitters [against Pacifica],” Sharks head coach Airess Padda said. “Being at home and having some fans out here really made the difference. They’ve been practicing hard.”    

Although the fans were an added comfort, the boys carried their “jitters” into the first two sets against Carpinteria, struggling through serving slumps and an organized Warriors defense, losing 25-17 and 25-18.

‘We huddled up after the second loss and talked,” Padda said. “That’s when they started to get hungry for it. They started to believe they could win.” 

That’s when the Sharks began heating up. With Jonathan Baldwin serving, the Sharks began to rally, scoring three unanswered points and pulling ahead of the Warriors for the first time in the set, 22-21, after a spike from senior Chris Papavassiliou.

From there the two teams remained neck-and-neck; for every Warrior point, the Sharks had an answer, surpassing the 25-point marker still tied after another hard spike from Papavassiliou. But Malibu had the final say and secured its first set of the match 28-26.

"They went into the third game knowing that they were losing and that they were going to be playing positions that they don’t normally play,” Padda said. “But at that point, there was nothing left to do but fight for it. They had to play through everything.”

From that heat, the Sharks sparked a fire. Malibu took firm control of the fourth set and dominated the Warriors 25-17, tying up the match, 2-2, and forcing the Warriors into a fifth set to decide the victor. 

The Sharks started off strong in the fifth set until the Warriors caught up, tying it up at 7. 

But Malibu kept up its persistence and pulled ahead once again. Papavassiliou again delivered the definitive blow to the Warriors, reaching to the far outside corner of the court for a save that secured the Sharks’ 15-12 victory.  

“Chris [Papavassiliou] is the heart of this team; he’s was a vocal leader and he led by example on the court,” Padda said. “When people started believing like him, it did wonders for the team.”