AOSR edges Sigonella to get shot at BFA
Stars and Stripes October 28, 2022
AVIANO AIR BASE, Italy – It was the match of the tournament, one that left the losers heartbroken and the winners facing a very tough task in Saturday’s championship.
American Overseas School of Rome took a two-set lead, then almost let it slip away before rallying past Sigonella 25-18, 25-16, 19-25, 20-25, 15-13 on Friday in the semifinals of the DODEA-Europe boys volleyball tournament.
“We played with energy,” Falcons star Parker Huber said after the emotional win. “If we play with energy, I know we’re going to be good.”
Just good enough to defeat the Jaguars, who looked like they had momentum going into the final set.
Sigonella, seeded second and winner of Pool B, took a 4-1 lead early in the final set. But AOSR, seeded fifth and the runner-up in Pool A, rallied and the teams exchanged small runs before eventually moving into a 13-13 tie. The Jaguars then lost a point for running into the net and seconds later, an AOSR serve landed the line – abruptly ending the match and sending the Falcons running around their side of the court and several Sigonella players collapsing in misery.
For their efforts Friday, AOSR gets to take on Black Forest Academy, which was clearly the best team of the tournament its first two days. The Falcons from Kandern, Germany, swept Rota 25-13, 25-11, 25-17 in the other semifinal.
BFA’s toughest tests of the tournament were against AOSR and top-seeded Aviano in its first matches of pool play by scores of 25-21, 26-24 and 26-24, 25-21.
So an improbable win by the team from Rome in the battle of Falcons could happen.
“It seems like everyone else in this tournament beat us during the season,” Huber said, exaggerating only slightly. “But we’ve come together now.”
Coach Andrea Desideri said he thought the difference in his team’s winning and losing sets was pretty simple.
“When you start to miss some serves, that’s it,” he said. “We missed three in a row at one point. You don’t score and the other team does …”
Black Forest, which has lost only a single set the entire season in a schedule heavy with international schools, coasted through the first two sets before the Admirals put up a stiffer fight in the third.
“I thought we came out strongly,” Falcons coach Lance Dockrey said. “We defended well, we attacked well. We just had a bit of a let down in the third set.”
Rota made an improbable run to the semifinals in only its second year of competing – following a winless season a year ago.
“I am so proud of this team,” coach Edward DeMeritt said. “Most of our best players are juniors and we only have one senior starter. So maybe next year is our year.”