By Mike Bebernes
Frequent mistakes cost Bay School its first Bay Counties League victory in a 3-2 (24-26, 25-17, 16-25, 25-17, 15-10) loss to Contra Costa Christian of Walnut Creek on Tuesday at Letterman Gym.
The Breakers (1-8, 0-4) had advantages over their opponent in size, skill and athleticism, but a remarkable 37 unforced errors allowed the Cougars (6-5, 3-4) to stay in the game.
“We didn’t execute on the things we can control,” said Bay Head Coach James Scrivano. “When you give them free points, you’re not gonna take care of business and we didn’t.”
The Breakers struggled to keep their serves in play throughout the game, handing the Cougars (6-5, 3-4) 21 points on missed serves, points that turned out to be the difference in the tightly contested match.
“Bay School had a couple of missed serves and that was the difference,” said Contra Costa Head Coach Alan Manatt. “If they hadn’t have missed those serves, we probably would have lost.”
Bay overcame 14 unforced errors to win the first game in extra points and led two games to one before allowing the Cougars to come back. The Breakers used superior on-court play to stay alive throughout the match, but the mistakes ultimately proved too overwhelming in the fifth and final game.
Bay had a very balanced offensive performance, led by 6-foot-9-inch hitter Stephen Meirer’s 13 kills and four blocks, both game highs.
“[Meirer] always has a mismatch in front of him,” said Scrivano. “No matter what he’s gonna do, they’re gonna shy away. They’re gonna worry about the power that’s coming.”
Seven Bay players had more than three kills, including Brendan Armstrong and Noah Bergeron, who had nine and eight kills respectively. Armstrong also contributed four aces in the match.
The Cougars, by contrast, had just three players with more than two kills, getting 11 from Andrew Brown and 10 from David Yoeono.
Contra Costa ultimately triumphed through control and efficiency. The Cougars had just 14 unforced errors in the match, a total that was equaled Bay’s tally in the first game alone.
“You’ll notice our serves aren’t that impressive, but they go in. We recognize our weaknesses and compensate for them,” said Manatt. “[We] don’t give up. They’re competitive. My team deserves some credit for sticking in there.”