Aptly named, the Stuyvesant Beasts ended their season strong, placing first in the Manhattan A West Division and earning the sixth overall seed. In their league games, Stuyvesant went 10-0, an impressive and spotless record. After losing key players like former captains Sam Kotlyar and Tae Kyung Kong, the newly appointed starters had to step up their game, and they succeeded. “Overall this season was one of the best, if not the best season, even with statistics aside. The team had a core group that was immensely dedicated,” coach Vasken Choubaralian said. The starting team played with conviction and had great chemistry both on and off the court.
Earlier in the season, the Beasts had played in the Tottenville tourney, where they’d defeated Flushing High School and then proceeded to play MSIT in the semifinals. “We played MSIT, the eventual tournament winner and city champs. We continued to play at staggering level with super high intensity and great execution. Even though we lost both sets, the team felt extremely proud of their performance,” Choubaralian said.
The Beasts, guided by senior captains Isfar Patwary and Jackson Deysine, dominated their league games, but they started to meet stiffer competition in the playoffs. After beating Lane two sets to none, the Beasts faced Richmond Hill, who’d beaten them last year in playoffs, as well as a few times in scrimmages during the season. “The boys were really hungry for revenge,” Choubaralian said. “We won and moved onto the quarterfinals for the first time in my career with the boy’s team. It was a pivotal moment.” While it’d been uncertain at first whether or not the team would be able to perform well under pressure, after the Richmond game, there was no doubt the Beasts were a serious contender, moving on to the quarterfinals.
Unfortunately, not all good things are meant to last, and the Beasts lost to Fort Hamilton after two close sets. For junior and outside hitter Shun Bitar, it was the season low. “We played so well, it really didn’t look as though we were the lower seed coming into the match…[but] being on the quarterfinals stage for the first time in years as the Beasts, we choked and were unable to do simple things such as serving,” Bitar said. “They beat us to 25, and our season was over.” Still, the team managed to record 17 kills and 21 assists, a large number of them coming from Bitar, which shows how far the team has come since the start of their season.
The match marked the end of their long season, but Choubaralian and the Beasts plan to come back next year to take on and take down their opponents. This time, they’ll lose three starters, but the Beasts have rising seniors ready to fill in the big shoes of those left behind by the departing members. “A majority of the team will be returning as seniors next year, so there won’t be too many changes in the line up. That is one thing that keeps me very hopeful for next season; I am anticipating an even higher seed and a stronger and longer presence in the playoffs. You can quote me on that,” Choubaralian said.