After an undefeated season in our local HAC tournament, the Middle School Boys Competitive Volleyball team stayed in Hanoi for their season finale MRISA Jr. tournament. Six teams played a round robin for the first two days and on the last day the finals. This year’s team was made up of Captains Segdae Lucardie and Min Yong An who led the team with great spirit and leadership. Our middles Nam van der Wielen, Harald Hogberg and Kiet Nguyen lit up the court with all their blocks and spikes. Our fantastic outside hitters Heedong Cho and Toby Fujii Bennett were consistent throughout the whole season getting hits off the charts. Our reliable Opposites Perry Baek, Hieu Nguyen, Aoi Ito and William Francis all played exceptionally well when it came down to the close moments. Last but not least our Liberos who were amazing, Takao Saito and Minh Khoi Phan were as helpful as always.
Our Phoenix came out strong and took the first match solidly against SSIS in a nearly error-free match of beautiful volleyball. After winning all the round robin games we were ready for the Finals. Since we finished top of the ladder we went straight to the semi-finals playing ISE Eagles, who were looking very strong. ISE challenged us the entire game but with the strength of our blockers and the skills of our hitters, we moved onto the Finals against SSIS. In the Finals, our middles contributed to our offense with well-placed hits and strong blocks, our setter Segdae was being tactical the whole game choosing who to set to and when. Minh Khoi was making great receives and setting up attacks. We lost the first set, but we were able to bounce back in the second set with Min Yong’s incredible serves. We won the the set making it 1-1. It all came down to the last set, both teams tired from the previous sets making every play their best. It went all the way down to the wire unfortunately SSIS got the better of UNIS Hanoi on the day. All the boys were full of pride and exhaustion for playing such a great tournament that we will all remember till the end of our lives.
Congratulations to the boys for representing UNIS Hanoi proudly. Congratulations to Min Yong and Segdae for making the all tournament team. Thank you to all the players for their commitment and dedication on and off the court with practices, extra workouts, and Saturday open courts, while also managing school work. Thank you to our parents for allowing us to spend so much time developing our game and finally to the crowd for going along on the journey the whole season. There were ups and downs and you were always there for us. A big shout out to all the people who supported the team and dedicated their time towards this volleyball side, Coach Schneider, Coach Richard, Coach Rohan and Coach Momo. And one last special thanks to Coach Keri who helped us improve our skills as volleyballers and as people. She has taught us the fundamentals and skills that a volleyball player needs to succeed, so from all players of the UNIS Hanoi MRISA boys team we thank you so much. You are a committed, dedicated, passionate coach who loves the sport and leads by example. We are looking forward to coming back next year and winning the title.
Phoenix on three, one, two three Phoenix!
By Segdae Lucardie and Min Yong An.