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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Chen

We are the Hawks: The mighty, mighty Hawks

April 4th, 11:00AM

Kickstarting the first game for the volleyball boys, the EABH Hawks were faced with an unfortunate defeat. Being known as a comeback school–always more successful in the second half to flip games that start on the wrong foot–the Hawks did not hold true to that stereotype with a losing match 0-2 for The British School of Rio de Janeiro’s Falcons. Being this the first game in the pool, it was natural for all teams to demonstrate their nervousness to start ISSL. There are three more games to go for the pool, so it is without a doubt that the boys can still bring back the comeback school credit. 

In the first-ever serve, the Falcons missed, with the ball going straight to the back of the room. With that unmotivating move for them, the Hawks fueled their energies and cheered each other on. Despite João Lima (10) also missing the first serve for EABH, Eduardo Calixto (6), Dudu, made the first spike, scoring our first point. Throughout the entire first set, the Hawks’ libero Arthur Mello (14) kept perfectly sending his parabolic pass to the setter, who would then send the ball flying to Aidan Van Cleef’s (4) sturdy spike, puncturing the defensive set up the Falcons had ready. EABH was now in the lead by a single point. 

As the boys gained momentum, Edward Mason (1), or Ted, who played with a peeling-off sticker that gave his jersey his name and number, spiked towards the Falcons who then attempted to spike back but missed due to his tall block. Tiago Loures (5) and Ted continued to block the opposition’s spikes, an action that was always followed by encouraging shoves and screams. Unfortunately, however, the momentum didn’t last long: Arthur began missing his dives and the entire team started dropping the ball. This series of unfortunate events brought the Hawks back down to 4-10. Coach Laura called for a time-out once the score reached 7-12, hoping to give time for the athletes to catch their breath and get their heads back in the game. Co-captain João hugged Arthur in the huddle to lift his wavering but ever-present spirit. Once back on the court, Pedro Jorge (7) and Eduardo blocked various spikes that came their way and Arthur was back on track. Despite Pedro continuously shining with the tip-overs and the switching in of players to ensure that the serves were successful when times were so pivotal, the Hawks ultimately lost the first set 13-21.

The second half began and the teams switched sides. Matheus Cali (9) was brought in for the first serve. The first three points went straight to the Falcons, with failed serves and balls falling surrounded by a discouraging silence from the team. The entire mood changed, however, once Aidan went up to serve with a roaring crowd. All the futsal and volleyball Lady Hawks yelled for an ace–and that is exactly what they got. With a fierce chest bang, the team continued to motivate each other with shoves and screaming: the adrenaline was back. With regained confidence, Pedro Jorge leaped into the air to block alongside Matheus, which ended up leading to the ball hitting his face. Coach Jill continued to encourage him and the rest of the team, which was beginning to go silent once again. What was not once silent, however, was the roaring crowd, continuously full of song and cheer. The Hawks started catching up with 3-5, and, to add to this race, Ted spiked; despite it being blocked, the ball was immediately saved by the libero Pedro Almeida (11), also known as PA.

Dudu made a similar move to Ted’s in the last set: he blocked the opposing team’s spike and the team utilized the same play to have him send it piercing the floor. This time, the Falcons called time out, intimidated by the score tied at 6-6. The first play after that was successfully conducted by Matheus, flipping the game into EABH being in the lead. Plays continued to go flying at PA. who would send them back to Ted to tip over, tricking the Falcons into a stumbling kick out the court. The score was then at 9-8 which tied once again with João Lima double touching. As Ted went on to serve in the game's fluctuating momentum, the bench chanted “EDWARD MASON THE SERVE”, which brought the motivation back into the light for the boys. The serves were beautiful as Aidan continued that motivation with, once again, an ace. Hawks were in the lead once again with 14-11. Despite the mediocre performance out of understandable first-day jitters, Matheus shook off all past mistakes and instantly dove to save João Lima’s blocked spike. The scale seemed to be tipping slightly toward the Hawks.

Once more, a time-out was called with the score at 17-17, leaving both coaches nervous to see if there’d be a third set to break the tie or not. Both teams were reaching awfully close to the victorious 21-point victory. The air went tense as Aidan spiked and blocked, accompanied by Pedro Jorge and the points flying by one after the other. Matheus lifted the ball, pushing the Falcons forward along with the one final blocked spike by the team’s captain himself. 

The game ended 18-21 with a continuous chase from both teams to win the first game. It is no surprise that the Hawks’ start at ISSL was difficult, but there are three full games to make up for this loss. Following the game’s ending, the entire team huddled outside the gym to get feedback, get their hopes lifted, and regain their energy for the next games they shall cheer for and play for.

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