By Bonta Hill
The first game of the season for the defending Bay Counties League West champion Lick-Wilmerding couldn’t have gone any smoother.
The Tigers (1-0) had no problem with visiting Bay as they rolled to a 3-0 victory (25-7, 25-16, 25-16) behind the strong play of seniors Jody Fu, Stephanie Willemsen, and sophomore Melanie Brown.
“We had no idea how Bay was going to be coming into the game, but our girls wanted it more this year after last year’s tough loss to [Bay],” said Lick-Wilmerding head coach Erwin Chu. “We passed and served really well today.”
In last year’s non-league thriller between the two teams, Bay won in five games, but this match was all Lick-Wilmerding.
In the first game, Lick-Wilmerding jumped out to a 10-2 lead before Bay (0-2) could blink. The Breakers’ nerves seemed to get the best of them as they appeared tentative from the start.
After Bay coach James Serivano called a timeout to settle his team down, the Tigers would step on the gas pedal harder, building a 19-4 lead before eventually winning the first game 25-7.
“We lost three players from last year, so we’ve got some real raw talent,” Serivano said. “I think our competitive and energy level early on could have been a lot stronger.”
The second game started like the first, as the Tigers would jump out to an 11-2 lead.
The Breakers began to show life as they rallied to score four straight points and cut the lead to 13-7. Lick-Wilmerding’s experience, however, persevered and the Tigers eventually closed out the second game 25-16.
“I’m really happy with our team today, we played so well,” said Fu, the Tigers’ captain. “Even coach Chu said we played above average, which is fantastic.”
In the third game Lick-Wilmerding jumped out to another big lead, and were never threatened in the clinching game.
After starting the match with numerous unforced errors against Lick-Wilmerding, Serivano was optimistic on what his team could accomplish moving forward this season.
“I think we put some things together throughout the match that we can build on,” Serivano said. “I feel strongly [that] once we get that experience later in the season, we’re going to be tough to beat.”
For the Tigers, Chu likes the potential of this year’s team to be a factor in league play again.
“This is one of the strongest serving teams I’ve had in awhile here at Lick,” Chu said. “We don’t have that one dominant player, but we have strong hitters at every position.”