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High School Volleyball:
Fairlawn Captures Viking Invitational

Saturday, April 13, 2002

By John Daglian
SJSports Staff Writer

The 7th annual Viking invitational Boys Volleyball tournament was held at Eastern High School. This tournament normally features several of the top schools in the state. This year was no exception as 7 of the top 15 schools attended. The first pool consisted of Eastern (#4), Fairlawn (#2), Cherry Hill West, Wayne Hills (#6) and West Windsor South. The second pool contained Cherry Hill East (#9), East Brunswick (#8), Bridgewater (#15), St. Peters (#11) and Hackensack.

Pool play lasted from 8:30 AM to around 3:00 PM. During pool play Eastern and Fairlawn put on the most exciting match containing huge hits, great defense and tough blocking. The first 11-point game of this match lasted for nearly the entire 30-minute time limit allotted for two 11-point games. Eastern took that game 16 - 14, but Fairlawn got the split by taking the time shortened game. When the dust settled, Fairlawn had captured their pool with a 7 - 1 record. Eastern was second at 5 - 3 and Wayne Hills 3rd at 4 - 4. The other pool saw East Brunswick took first with a 7 - 1 mark, Hackensack was second at 5 - 3 and Cherry Hill East was 3rd at 4 - 4. This pool featured multiple one-point games. The surprise teams of the tournament had to be Hackensack and Cherry Hill West. Hackensack, currently unranked, showed they deserve consideration by finishing second in their pool. Meanwhile, Cherry Hill West managed a 3 - 5 pool play record against the 2nd, 4th and 6th ranked teams in the state.

The quarterfinals pitted the 2nd place team of each pool against the other pools 3rd place team. This would be a single game to 15 points with a 30-minute time limit. The first quarterfinal saw Wayne Hills advance over Hackensack by a 15 - 9 score. However, the 2nd quarterfinal needed almost the entire 30 minutes before Eastern edged Cherry Hill East 16 - 14. This would be the first time the Eastern Boys team had ever captured even a game off of Cherry Hill East. This one didn't come easy as they had to rally from an 11 - 14 deficit before earning the win.

The semi-finals featured Eastern against East Brunswick and Wayne Hills against Fairlawn. These matches would be a single 21-point game. In the first semi, Eastern took control early and were able to withstand a furious East Brunswick rally, capturing the game 21 - 17. The second semi saw Fairlawn take command at the net and maintain a comfortable 5 to 6 point margin throughout the contest. They advanced over Wayne Hills by a 21 - 15 score.

The final would again be a single game to 21 points. This game showed a team on a mission as Fairlawn took control early and showed no signs of giving any openings to Eastern. Eastern was unable to mount an effective attack and could not find a way to stop Fairlawn's attack. The end of a very entertaining day saw Fairlawn capture the Viking invitational 21 - 9 over Eastern.

This bodes well for Fairlawn as every tournament winner has at least made the finals of the state tournament.

Photos by Art Redd

©2002 South Jersey Sports Online Inc.