May 06, 2022 20:00 PM PST
Blaze Continues Hot Streak Over Exposure, 3-0 Sweep
Led by starting Outside Hitter Travis O'Gorman (15 PTS | 12 Kills, 2 Aces, and 1 Block),LA Blaze defeated Southern Exposure 3-0 | 25-18, 26-24, 29-27. Opposite Hitter Charles Belvin added 13 PTS (11 kills at 65% and 2 Blocks) for Blaze in the victory, helping to hold back Southern Exposure's Opposite, Chad Mercado, who tallied a team-high 11 PTS | 11 kills for Exposure in the losing effort.
LA Blaze had the return of O'Gorman after a shakey 1-1 start without him during Event 1. His presence on the court forced Exposure to worry about their front-row attackers, and now the threat of four offensive players as O'Gorman flew through the backcourt on the Bic. Middle Damani Lenore continued to showcase his destructive power and intensity at the net, hitting at 67% efficiency and leading the match with four blocks.
LA Blaze also showcased their newcomer Steven Rotter who all week practiced as an Outside Hitter for the team but started the match as their second middle, managing to hold his own with five kills at 83% and three blocks. Additionally, with the return of libero Ricardo Massanet, who led the league in digs during the 2021 season, LA Blaze had a much stronger defensive front which held the exposure offense in check.
Exposure's Outside Tyler Hubbard-Neil and Middle Uchenna Ofoha connected well with their setter David Specian hitting 47% and 55% apiece. However, with them having few attempts, with Mercado hitting the most attempts on his team at 26, the team wasn't able to overcome the staggering blocking performance put on by Blaze. Tony Glessner took to the majority of the team's reception passes, helping to maintain the team's 62% passing.
The game came down to LA Blaze's ability to reduce their serving errors, which allowed them to play out the point and win on breakpoints. Plus, Blaze scored 60% of the time on hostile receptions compared to Blaze's 38%. Southern Exposure will be eager to have their libero Johnny Gomez back to improve their ability to increase their positive reception if their hitters can't score in out-of-system scenarios. Additionally, as Blaze now shows some dominance in their blocking prowess with the additions of Lenore and Rotter, Exposure will be eager to see their middles Langston Payne and Tim Lourich return to the blocking prowess they had last season.
Southern Exposure will play the Colorado Kraken, who just came off a brutal loss getting swept 0-3 by the Dallas Tornadoes, where Exposure hopes to maintain their contention for a playoff spot in the American Conference. LA Blaze will play against the Seattle Sasquatch, who have yet to find a win, which will help Blaze to secure their spot in the National Conference behind the OC Stunners.
- NVA Staff Writer