Beasts Drop First Playoff Game After Undefeated Season

The Beasts lost their first-round playoff match to Francis Lewis to finish off another successful season.

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The Beasts, Stuyvesant’s boys’ varsity volleyball team, were eliminated from the playoffs after a 2-0 upset to the Francis Lewis High School Patriots. The Beasts were expected to go farther into the playoffs this year, ranked as the fifth seed in the entire A division, the highest division in the PSAL. The Patriots, however, were able to utilize their serves more effectively than the Beasts, putting up four aces to Stuyvesant’s one. Stuyvesant kept each of the two games close, but was unable to finish off the Patriots, losing the first game 23-25 and the second game 21-25.

What really hurt the Beasts was the absence of two key players, seniors Shun Bitar and Tommy Min, which left the team without necessary power on the outside. The Patriots were able to keep the ball off of the floor, tallying up 25 digs and forcing the Beasts to make mistakes that culminated in a loss. Francis Lewis, on the other hand, played a competitive game, maintaining a strong presence on offense and keeping a solid defense and were able to come away with the upset.

The Beasts followed up their undefeated 2017 season with another winning streak, capping off the season with a convincing win in two games over Louis Brandeis High School. Throughout the 2018 season, the Beasts only dropped two games to their competitors, dominating opponents in the Manhattan A West division. The real challenge for the team both years has been the playoffs. In the 2017 season, the Beasts were eliminated in the third round by Fort Hamilton, going deeper into the playoffs than they expected, making this year’s early loss to Francis Lewis surprising. Throughout the season, one of the primary weaknesses of the team was, ironically, their abundance of experience. “They’ve played for so long that they didn’t do basic things such as calling the ball,” said coach Vasken Choubaralian.

This year was expected to be a strong year for the Beasts, who had a formidable senior class. Seniors and co-captains Ray Jones and Shun Bitar were a dominant duo this season, with Jones coming second in the division in assists and Bitar excelling on the outside. Bitar was one of the strongest servers in the league, coming in second in the division in aces. In addition to their individual achievements, they made up a formidable duo together with Jones providing sets to Bitar, who racked up 63 kills for the Beasts.

Though the sting from this loss won’t fade any time soon, many are optimistic about the team’s success next year. The Beasts will be losing some key seniors, but the junior class is strong and should have no issues taking over and maintaining the success the team has enjoyed the past few years. Junior Jerren Dang has been strong this season as a starting middle hitter, using his tall frame to accumulate nine blocks and 19 kills in the center of the court. Though he has been one of the only juniors consistently playing this year, the seniors are confident that the others can take over their role to lead the team even further into the playoffs. “The juniors are excited to play, so they’re looking to improve themselves,” said Choubaralian.