NORTHEAST GLENDALE — For all but two members of Glendale Adventist Academy's boys' volleyball team, Tuesday afternoon's match wasn't just their season opener, it was the first match of their playing careers.
And while energy and enthusiasm kept the Cougars competitive in the first game of their nonleague match with the Oakwood Gorillas, inexperience and lack of fundamentals showed overall in the 25-19, 25-7, 25-12 home loss.
"They came out with a lot of confidence and adrenaline," Cougars Coach Ken Vigilia said. "Once they lost that, they got nervous and lost their focus."
Glendale Adventist Academy (0-1) battled the Gorillas early in the first game, leading, 8-6, after the two teams saw five tie scores. Oakwood then scored eight straight, and 12 of the next 13 points to take command with an 18-9 advantage.
The game would never be in question from there on with Oakwood (4-4) leading by as many as 12 and one point away from taking the first of three. The Cougars didn't go away easy, though, scoring the next seven, rallied by an Alex Santos kill, before ultimately falling.
"They came out pretty strong in the first game, and made us commit a lot of errors," Oakwood Coach Nigel Kookhoo said. "Then we just settled down and played a lot better."
The talent level of the two programs showed more clearly in the next two games, with the Cougars trailing throughout the remainder of the match, giving up the first eight points of the second game and 13 of the first 16 in the third.
Vigilia saw his players flounder and fail to put together a streak of points surpassing three, while at the same time, giving up runs of eight, seven and seven in the second game and as much as 11 in the third.
The first-year head coach pointed out that the players are on spring break this week, making it difficult to get the team together for practice and additional time on the court, which will come as the season gets into full swing.
"They're into it and excited to play, so I like that about them," said Vigilia, whose squad travels to Calabasas to take on Viewpoint Thursday. "It's good to finally see them in a game situation."
Santos led the Cougars with four kills. Tanner Warrick finished the match with six assists.