Senior team dominates aces and kings

Zachary DiSchiano

                The Lebron James “chalk toss” imitation by the PS118 Stoop Kids at the beginning of this year’s Aces and Kings Tournament foreshadowed the five action-packed hours to come. Aces and Kings is an annual volleyball tournament in which the junior and senior boys separate into teams of eight players and compete against each other. The players are coached by varsity volleyball athletes during the three practices held before the contest. The tournament started at 5 p.m. as each team began their quest for glory. All competitors had their own individual goals for themselves and a set plan for what they wanted to accomplish.

                “Expectation is no longer in my vocabulary,” Garrett Quick, junior, said. “Just perfection.”

                Although confidence is a vital aspect in the success of a team, most players had virtually no experience in the sport. Online matches and Wii Fit games were the only courts that juniors Dominic Espinosa and Garret Quick had ever played on.

                “We were all playing Gears of War 2 at [Espinosa’s] grandparents’ house before we got here, so we were all late,” Quick said.

                Even with the lack of experience, every team appeared as if they could be receiving volleyball scholarships rather than the football, baseball and soccer scholarships they are receiving now. Bodies were seen diving on the floor left and right, screams and yells of encouragement were heard from well outside the gym where the games were played.

The matches were more brutal than most would expect. Bruised elbows, cut knees and twisted ankles were evident in several games. Logan Yarborough, junior, broke his toe in the process of serving. He showed perseverance; however, as he continued playing on it without knowing the damage that was done.  

It was this kind of intensity that made many of the games extremely close, even though some teams had an upper hand against others.

                “We [had] a lot of tall players, and it [gave] us an advantage over the other teams,” Ryan Maas, junior, said.

                Other teams had faster players or players that could jump higher. Some players had experience in other sports, providing them with an advantage over other teams. On the other hand, a few teams were complacent in their lack of talent.

                “We may not have the most skill, but we play the hardest.” Collin Raddack, junior, said.

                Effort was plentiful that night, as each team fought as hard as they could to stay in the race for the championship, but only one team could prevail. There were a few select teams who had grudges with the referees, claiming unfair treatment and bad calls. An unidentified source accuses favoritism displayed towards the baseball players. It was also said that the referees were making inconsistent calls throughout the games, and there were complaints about the tie-breaker system as well. When two teams had the same record, the points scored by each team were divided by the total points allowed to decide who advances.  The PS118 Stoop Kids and Catalalina Wine Mixers competed for the spot. The Wine Mixers would eventually win the tie-breaker due to their win-margins and move on to the championship game.

                Austin Minor, senior for the Scrubs, came through with several blocks in the championship games, denying the Wine Mixers from going on scoring streaks. There were a total of 30 ties and 13 lead changes since the 10-10 mark of the first game played. The games were played in the “Win by Two” rules, meaning that if one team got to 25 but the other team had 24, the game would have to keep being played until a team is up by a margin of two. Game one of the championship put this rule into effect as the final score of the game ended at 33-31, favoring the Scrubs.

                The second game was just as intense as the first. Billy Bernhard, senior, was seen above the net more than the majority of any other player on the court, despite not being as tall. Junior Coronado, senior, provided the Scrubs with an explosive offense, spiking the ball on several occasions. The game was close until the Scrubs started pulling away near the end.  They ended the series on a 7-2 run, showing no signs of slowing down as they picked up the championship with a 25-19 victory in Game two.

“Every team was really tough,” Minor said. “The thing that separated our team from the others was when we finally stopped arguing. Once we started to just play the game we actually did well.”

                The Scrubs polished up with elegant tiaras and wands as their rewards. They also received five dollar gift cards to the popular drive in restaurant, Sonic. The 2009 Aces and Kings tournament was one of the most intense and debatable athletic contests ever, and we look forward to another exciting event next year.