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Metropolitan rallies to volleyball victory

By Patrick McCormack

Metropolitan Campus was three points from the end of its first varsity season and falling short of a city boys’ volleyball crown before coach Thomas Shean reminded his players the type of effort that got them to the final.

“I have a lot of first-year guys,” Shean said. “That was just it, a lot of nerves. I had to just tell them it’s no guts, no glory. You have go in and try and win the game, not try and hope to win the game, but want to win the game.”

Metropolitan not only won the game, but took the title as well.

The fourth-seeded Knights scored eight straight points to rally and win the second set before closing out a 23-25, 25-22, 25-20 victory over No. 2 Boys & Girls in the PSAL Class B city championship at Hunter College May 27.

“When the ball goes out of bounds I know I was relieved,” Shean said. “The boys were relieved. “There was a feeling of ‘Hey, we finally did it, we got the goal we thought we could get to at the beginning of the season.’”

But the victory didn’t come easy for Metropolitan. Its 23-25 loss in the first set took away some of its momentum and confidence—until Shean shook his team up.

“When we went down in the first set, I got a little worried, but afterwards we came back,” said senior Bryan Vasquez, who had five kills.

Metropolitan (12-2), which finished the regular season second in its division, also ran into problems in the third set of the championship game. The Knights led 18-9 before Boys & Girls (15-1) went on a 10-2 rally to cut Metropolitan’s lead to 20-19. Vasquez responded with a kill to increase the Knights lead to 21-19. Tishawn Doolittle, who had 12 kills, made some big plays down the stretch to help Metropolitan wrap up the final set 25-20.

It was another message from Shean that helped the Knights regain focus.

“I told them when we were up big, ‘Hey listen, I see you think we got this and you are relaxing. But remember the other team thought they had the match just before and they relaxed, so play hard.’”

The Knights overcame adversity each time they faced it in the championship match. They did so by keeping their game simple and not overthinking things.

“Don’t think about it,” Vasquez said. “Play the game and it came naturally and we pulled through.”

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