Boys Volleyball Stays Perfect

Jake Oppenborn (center) and the boys volleyball team celebrate after a point scored (Kristen Pike)

Jake Oppenborn (center) and the boys volleyball team celebrate after a point scored (Kristen Pike)

This past Friday, the FHN boys volleyball team advanced to a perfect 10-0 record within their conference with a win over the FZS Bulldogs. The Knights won in straight sets, both victories by the score of 25-17.

“We knew we’d have to try our hardest because we already beat them once, so we knew that they wanted it,” senior Austin Price said in a live-broadcasted postgame interview (the entire match is viewable here). “They came out stronger than last time, but we came out even stronger.”

The Knights began the game well, taking an early 9-4 lead before FZS called the match’s first timeout. FHN would go on to win the first set with the help of a late 8-0 run to put the team ahead 21-10 before winning the set 25-17 on a block by Evan Bernard and Landon Porter.

“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Price said of the team’s mentality heading into the second set.

After an early 4-4 gridlock, FHN pulled away in the second set to take a 14-6 lead, and they didn’t look back. As in the first set, the Bulldogs concocted a stinted late run in an attempt to crawl back into the match, but the 8-5 string proved useless as the Knights toppled the visitors 25-17 in the second set as well, the victory punctuated by a Chase Powelson offspeed kill (one of 11 kills for the senior on the night).

“We’re trying to play as clean as possible and limit the mistakes we’re making. We need to get into the habit of doing that so that we’re not making mistakes. Volleyball is just a game of mistakes; that’s all it is. So, if we limit the mistakes we’re making, there’s no telling what we could finish up with. I think we can play with any team in the state.”

VonFeldt’s confidence is not undue, as the 20-4-1 Knights sit at the top of the GAC and are ranked sixth in the state in Class 4 and eighth overall by MaxPreps.com, making this year as close to perfect as FHN has ever seen.

“Nobody is perfect, obviously,” head coach Ryan VonFeldt said, “but that’s what I want us to strive for. That means no hitting errors, no serving errors, no blocking errors, no passing errors. Work on doing your best to where we can be as perfect as possible.”

The above were VonFeldt’s remarks about maintaining their undefeated record in their conference, and, as the coach implied, the team is going to have to be as perfect as possible in order to win the conference. The Spartans of FHC are nearly as perfect as the Knights at 19-5 and 10-1 in conference play, with the lone conference loss coming to FHN in two sets on April 12.

“We want to get [the conference championship] first,” Price said. “We don’t want to think too far ahead. We just need to beat Fort Zumwalt West, and [Howell] Central is our deciding game.”

The Knights’ final three games are at home against the FZW Jaguars on May 3, at home against the Pattonville Pirates on May 4 and against the FHC Spartans in Cottleville on May 5.

“Sometimes they say it’s good for teams to lose- it kind of knocks them down a bit- but I don’t want that to happen. Last year, we lost right before we went into [the conference tournament], and I think that carried over into the conference. We ended up not making it out of our conference last year, and I’m hoping that we can just keep on winning.”

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