Stefanski powers Calvert Hall past Boys' Latin in 3 straight

Cards gain sole possession of first place in MIAA

Boys volleyball

October 02, 2001|By Nathan Max | Nathan Max,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

At 6 feet 5, 215 pounds, Calvert Hall senior hitter Matt Stefanski looks as if he could punch a hole in the ball. And while Stefanski's game does involve a great deal of power, he also mixes in a surprising amount of touch.

Yesterday, Stefanski used both control and muscle on his way to 22 kills and an ace to lead Calvert Hall to a 15-9, 15-13, 15-10 victory over host Boys' Latin.

The victory was Calvert Hall's third straight, ended Boys' Latin's six-match winning streak and put the Cardinals (7-1, 7-0 Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association) in sole possession of first place in the conference.

"We try to mix it up a lot," said Stefanski, who is a four-year varsity starter. "Our team has a lot of power hitters, but we can also finesse it in. If they're throwing up three blocks at the same time, I just try to dink it in the corner."

Stefanski set the tone in the first game with 11 kills. He set up game point in the first game with a block, put away game point in the second game with a kill, and finished it on match point with another kill.

"That's a player right there," Boys' Latin coach Drew Haugh said. "He just made life miserable. If he wasn't blocking or hitting it in our faces, he was dinking it away from us."

Stefanski was not alone, however. Junior setter Martin Grant finished with 14 assists, junior hitter Bryan Trojanowski had 10 kills and two assists and senior hitter Tom Boyle added five kills and an assist.

In a losing effort, Boys' Latin senior hitters Mike Higgins and Donovan Bass had eight and seven kills, respectively, and senior setter Brendon Smeresky recorded 12 assists and two kills.

Calvert Hall led the first game 9-7, when Stefanski opened a cushion with two straight kills - first on a soft hit, then a wicked one - and an ace following four consecutive sideouts.

A lift violation pulled Boys' Latin (6-1, 6-1) to 13-9, but Stefanski won a sideout with another soft hit, and then had an unassisted kill to give the Cardinals a 14-9 advantage. Calvert Hall took the first game on its second game point when Higgins hit a ball long.

In the second game, Boys' Latin led 10-7 until the Cardinals ran off five straight points to move ahead 12-10. Senior Joel Ford hit two aces, and Trojanowski had two kills on sets from junior setter Joe Love during that stretch.

The Lakers went on a three-point run to move back in front 13-12, but Calvert Hall finished the game with three straight points to take control of the match.

Calvert Hall raced to a 9-3 lead in the third game, and after Boys' Latin closed to 12-10, Stefanski finished with three kills on the final four points.

"He's our most experienced player," Calvert Hall coach Jeff Blake said. "He was a setter when he started, so he has a real good knowledge of the court, and he's constantly trying to put the ball where they're not."

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