By Ernest Stone
As hard as it is to win a league title, it’s even more challenging to repeat.
Yet, if Lick-Wilmerding’s league-opening 3-0 (25-16, 25-21, 25-21) victory against visiting Convent of the Sacred Heart is any determinant of how the 2010 season will unfold, then the Bay Counties West League can expect the Tigers to repeat as back-to-back champs.
After Convent (1-1, 0-1) won a few long rallies to begin the first game, it looked as if the Cubs would challenge Lick throughout the contest.
It was apparent, however, that the Cubs’ success would be short-lived, and the Tigers took over the first game in a hurry.
Led by senior outside hitter Jody Fu, Lick-Wilmerding dominated the ball movement, and soon after captured the first game 25-16.
“This is a very well-rounded team,” said Fu, who finished the match with 13 kills, seven digs and two aces. “We have a threat at every position and once we improve our service game, we will be that much better.”
Lick’s depth was also on display, and after only 20 minutes of play, the Tigers cruised to a 2-0 game lead.
The only drama of the day would occur in the third game, when, after establishing a 21-11 lead, the Tigers surrendered seven of the next eight points.
“We could have done more to take advantage of the opportunities that they gave us in the first two games,” said Convent head coach David Moreno. “It’s great we did that in the third game, but it’s league now and we
need to play with a greater sense of urgency.”
For the Cubs, the ability to take advantage of another team’s mistakes may prove to be one of their lethal assets this season.
As for Lick-Wilmerding, the short- and long-term future looks solid, with more changes to be made to the team’s attitude rather than their skill.
“We work on pressure drills in practice,” said Lick head coach Erwin Chu. “That type of practice should help us stay focused.”
Yet, even with their lack of focus, the Tigers have all but proven that last season was no fluke.