Another day meant another victory as the Davis High boys volleyball team continued its busy, but successful, week on Wednesday at The Cage.
The Blue Devils won their third consecutive match to open the season, beating Chico in four games, 25-13, 21-25, 27-25, 29-27.
For the second straight day, DHS came out blazing in the first set, a performance that coach Jordan Friend attributed to the team playing within its system.
“The boys have worked really hard to run our system,” Friend said. “We know who we need to go to, and we are proving to be more prepared than other teams.”
The second set, however, didn’t go exactly as the Devils planned. According to Davis junior Evan Meerscheidt, the serving of Chico caught the locals off guard.
“We got caught up in their services; Chico put us on our back foot,” said Meerscheidt, a team captain. “They forced us to put free balls over the net and we couldn’t get any quality passes because of their serving. They were just going on five- and six-point runs and we couldn’t keep up.”
After DHS rebounded to capture the third set, the final game featured plenty of momentum changes. Eventually, the Blue Devils found themselves deadlocked at 22-22 with the Panthers. The lead then bounced back and forth until a 27-27 tie.
However, two key serves from Davis senior Andre Foster, another team captain, and good offensive execution helped the Devils put the game away to clinch the match.
“We’re a scrappy team; we just put our heads down and keep fighting,” Meerscheidt said. “We had some adversity (Wednesday), but always seem to be able to fight through it.”
His coach agreed.
“We’re really learning how to battle,” Friend explained. “We know that when we play within our system, we can hang with the best.”
For the past few seasons, the Blue Devil offense revolved around the hitting of Sam Manderfield and Dan Bonetti. But both graduated last year, leaving DHS with a more balanced offense in 2014. Sophomore Nick Simons led the way with 11 kills Wednesday, one night after Foster’s 13-kill outing paced the Devils to a win at Yuba City.
In beating Chico, Mike Basso anchored the locals with 20 digs and setter Meerscheidt had 11 assists on the night.
“It’s a different dynamic this year than last year,” Friend said. “Last year, we were really dependent on (Manderfield and Bonetti). This year, Andre, Nick and Ron Chandi are all playing really well.
“I’m really proud of them; they came into the gym on the first day ready to work hard. It’s not easy to come out with three wins. Not a lot of kids could do what these guys are doing.”
The 3-0 start is even more impressive considering Davis had little time to prepare following a preseason coaching controversy. Friend and Ron Duer took over as interim coaches on Feb. 15.
“The situation has really brought our team closer together,” Meerscheidt said. “We faced our toughest road block before the season started (so) we know how to face and overcome adversity. And if we can face that, we know we can hang with anybody in the Delta Valley Conference.”
The Blue Devils are back at The Cage on Thursday for a 6 p.m. match against McClatchy.