On Thursday night at the Nest, Garrett Talarczyk saw his vision of a boys varsity volleyball team come to life. And his new squad came to play.
In a captivating debut before an electric crowd, the brand-new Hilton Head High boys volleyball team defeated the rival Bluffton Bobcats in four sets (25-13, 19-25, 25-18, 25-20) in a historic matchup.
“It’s a start,” Talarczyk said. “Very excited for these guys. We didn’t know what to expect, we hadn’t played or scrimmaged anyone. They came out with a lot of energy and were having fun. It’s just exciting to see the program continue to grow.”
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It was a special night from the first serve at the Nest, as a large contingent of Seahawk students provided an unforgettable ambiance for the new team. Hilton Head’s squad was a mix of returnees from last year’s club squad alongside a new batch of sophomores. The play was inconsistent early, as expected for a first match, but the action quickly picked up from both sides.
Hilton Head caught fire midway through the opening set, rattling off 12 straight points thanks to dominant serving en route to a first-set win. The last rally of the opening set may have been the point of the night, lasting over 30 seconds before the crowd erupted as a Bluffton strike slammed into the net. But the Seahawks couldn’t keep the momentum going in the second as Bluffton found its game to even the match at a set apiece.
After Talarczyk talked to his new squad, Hilton Head regained its footing and surged to a 15-5 lead with stellar passing and hitting. The Seahawks rolled to a third-set victory and brought that mojo into the fourth. After both teams traded blows early, Hilton Head dug in and pulled ahead by making good reads and forcing a handful of Bobcat miscues.
Bluffton made a late push by saving a few match points, but it wasn’t enough to catch the Seahawks for a historic first win, putting a bow on a memorable night of volleyball.
“I was shocked at the crowd, it was like a big playoff game,” Talarczyk said. “It was cool all the way through from girls JV, girls varsity, and the boys. A lot of people in the community came out.”
Hilton Head (1-0) is back at it Thursday in a home match with May River. Bluffton (0-3) travels to face the rival Sharks on Sept. 27 before hosting the Seahawks for a rematch two days later.
By Wes Kerr
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