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High School Volleyball:
Cherry Hill East Strikes Back

Thursday, May 3, 2001

By John Daglian
SJSports Staff Writer

It was just over one month ago when the Cherry West Lions ended a 107 match winning streak that Cherry Hill East had over South Jersey Boys Volleyball teams. Last night the teams met at East for the 2nd time this season. The results would be different as East came out under control and in charge en-route to a straight set 15 - 12, 15 - 12 victory. East was led by Jason Mitchell who had a match high 14 kills and setter Alexis Alonzo who strung together 3 consecutive service aces to break a 9 - 9 tie in the first game. The Lions were led by their middle combination of Boris Smojver and Jordan Taormina who each had 10 kills.

The Cougars got off to their usual fast start as Jason Mitchell and Michael Morrow were fed by Alexis Alonzo and very quickly East had an 7 - 1 lead. However, West has never been willing to pack a game in and they fought their way back behind Jordan Taormina and Boris Smojver. West's setter Curtis Long was able to run his offense thanks to some great passing and suddenly the Lions had a game tying the score at 9. That's where Alexis took over as he blistered three perfectly placed serves around a kill by Michael Morrow and suddenly East was in control at 13 - 9. Once again West started to fight back behind a service ace from Ankur Patel and a block from Matt Nufable. However, Jason Mitchell ended the comeback with a kill off a busted play and East had game one 15 - 12.

The second game started out as if it would be a blow out. The Cougars quickly jumped out to an 8 - 0 lead largely due to hitting and passing errors. The situation was complicated by multiple service errors as the Lions were trying for the quick points. A time out seemed to calm them down and the comeback was underway. Led by Boris and Ankur the 8 point deficit slowly melted away. Despite Jason Mitchell's diving saves in the back row and Joseph Lee's outside kills, the Lions had cut the lead to 4 at 8 - 4. The Cougars stopped the bleeding and extended the lead to 12 - 6. After 8 consecutive side outs, Matt Miranda served an ace and suddenly the Lion comeback was on again. Behind a balanced attack the Lions had tied the game at 12. Alexis got the side out on a 2nd ball dump to stop the comeback. When East's middle attack sailed long, it looked like West was back in control. However, Jordan informed the officials that he had touched the ball, thus awarding East a point and a 13 - 12 lead. The Lions immediately sided out behind another of Jordan's kills, but couldn't cut into the lead. In fact they had 4 consecutive service errors after the score was tied at 12. Once again Jason was able to end the match with a kill out of the middle.

The day belonged to East as they were clearly the better team, however, the player of the match was clearly Jordan Taormina from West. Jordan had double figures in kills and multiple stuff blocks. The character he displayed by informing the officials of a touch when he was the only person in the gym who knew he touched the ball was something special.

Match Leaders:

Cherry Hill East:
Jason Mitchell: 14 Kills, 1 Block, 1 Ace
Joseph Lee: 6 Kills, 1 Ace
Michael Morrow: 8 Kills, 2 Blocks
Alexix Alonzo: 2 Kills, 3 Aces

Cherry Hill West:
Jordan Taormina: 10 Kills, 6 Blocks
Boris Smojver: 10 Kills, 2 Blocks
Ankur Patel: 5 Kills, 2 Blocks, 1 Ace

©2001 South Jersey Sports Online