MAVS PLAY-IN TO WIN FIRST GREENHILL INVITATIONAL

Sam Chambers
Using Friday's exceptional performance to earn a token play-in ticket to the Saturday bracket, The Mavericks cash in against all odds.  On the brink of elimination they redeemed their loss of the Houston Cup two weeks ago to bring back more: a bigger trophy and a will to win.
Read Coach Lombardi's account of their quest: holding off a match point, Ryan Yeung's 17 straight service wins, Max Lee's 8 jump serves, revenge on the Ballers, and Hornets, plus a team of real talent.
MAVS WIN GREENHILL INVITE
2009 Mavericks Take Home the Big Trophy
      The Greenhill Invitational began auspiciously with Friday night pool play wins over Bishop Dunne of Dallas and Morinville of Calgary. Dunne is a new program and did not put up much of a fight after game one, but still brought out some of the team's finest.  Andrew Dursum and Jason Shyu each had valuable hits keeping the momentum going for the Mavs.  A highlight for the season will be Ryan Yeung's 17 straight service points in game two. Outside hitters Max Lee and Anthony Foster each had seven point service streaks in game three. The Wolves of Canada were formidable. Up on the Mavs 19-15 in game one, they looked especially tough until a Max Lee streak of 8 straight jump serves, including a game point (25-19) ace, changed the tone of the match.
      The auspicious beginning on Friday night put the team into the toughest re-pool group for Saturday morning. The Mavs did not bring their A game for Casady, losing 18-25 and 21-25. Greenhill saw a better version of the team, but the Mavs still lost in three. A club team from Dallas/Ft. Worth calling themselves the Fall Ballers benefited from the deflation after the Greenhill loss and best us in two(22-25, 20-25). 
      As luck would have it, the arrangement of this tournament rewarded our Friday night play with the chance to "play in" to the Gold Bracket for the afternoon tournament.  Bus mates from Kinkaid were the victims of the Mavericks in that play-in set (25-8).
      As the play-in team, we were to face a one seed in the quarterfinals. St. Mark's had won all of their previous matches, and had a match point against the Mavericks (19-25, 24-23), but the Mavs snuck out game two 26-24 thanks to lots of guts and a little luck (thanks Lions for letting Max's bump save hit the floor). Game three saw the Mavs once again take the Lions (as they had in the Houston cup quarters), 15-10.
      The semis brought the team a chance to play the Fall Ballers again, this time with a little more energy and a lot more momentum. The Mavs dominated with their best defense of the year (Tim Lin had 20 digs in just two sets!) and with some clutrch serving by Richard Johnson.  25-19, 25-17.
     The finals were against the home team and in front of a good crowd.  Greenhill's 25-15 first game win was rather convincing. But the 2009 Mavs are proving that they get to decide when a match is over. They were not ready for it to end even after getting down one set and being down 22-19 in set two.  A remarkable Stephen Reynolds bump save from off the court and barely inside the antaenna saved one of the crucial points in the streak that took the Mavs to a 25-23 set two win.  Middles Reed Landrum and Richard Johnson each had the chance to bounce some balls on the ten foot line between impressive blocks.
      The Championship Set saw the Mavs down 5-2, but up at the change of sides, 8-7.  We were never down again, with Anthony Foster hitting Coach Amason's favorite 4-5 split and Alec Winograd leading the way with consecutive tools from his Opposite hitting position.  The 15-12 win brought the Mavericks their first Greenhill Invitational Championship and left the hungry team still hungry for more.
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