The girls’ volleyball team looks forward to stepping up from last year’s unsatisfactory season. The athletes’ work paid off—the team won its first league game in two years on Tuesday, September 31. So far, the team’s record is 14-10, an improvement from last year’s 11-22.
According to co-captain junior Rachel Nelson, this year the team is working on pulling through those tough matches and finishing strongly in games, which the players had trouble with last year. With this year’s team comprise mostly of returning players, this should not be unmanageable. Last year, the lineup consisted largely of girls new to varsity, since six seniors—five of whom were starters—graduated the year before. The team also had to adjust to new coaches. Varsity coach Jason Kennedy was team captain at Santa Clara University where he played as a setter. Yet despite his experience the girls had a rough season.
“We pretty much had to start from scratch,” co-captain senior Jenny Love said.
For these reasons, the team did not win any league games during last year’s season.
“Hopefully this year we’ll be able to change that,” Rachel said. “We definitely had the skill level there, but [we weren’t] able to fight toward the end.”
Although girls’ volleyball has solid offense and defense this year, the sport demands not only technique but also tightly-knit teamwork.
“If one girl is frustrated or having a bad day, we all suffer, and no one can play the game by themselves,” Jenny said. “We really feed off each other’s energy.”
The girls host gameday lunches to generate team unity, though many players are already friends from playing together last year. According to team player junior Kacy Tachibana “everyone is friends with almost if not everyone.”
“I feel everyone is pretty close,” Kacy said, “The girls are all really nice and fun to hang out with outside [of practice] and at practice.”
The girls’ teamwork was evident over the October 4 weekend at Cupertino High School, where the team went undefeated at the Del Mar Tournament despite four players lost to SATs and injuries. The wins placed them in the silver division in the tournament. This year’s goals are to get back into CCS, which they didn’t qualify for last year, and to complete the season with a winning record, according to Kennedy. The team strikes to make it to at least the first round of CCS.
“I think the girls themselves come with a new attitude,” Kennedy said. “And with one year of experience under their bet, they know what it takes to win at this level and they’re really just pushing each other to hit those marks.”
The team plays in SCVAL, one of the toughest leagues in the state. Ending with a winning season is a challenging feat, but with thigh spirits and the skills to match, it’s a possible feat.
“We’re hoping to go out and show the other schools that we’re not the underdogs this year and we can deliver and win some matches,” Jenny said. “It should be a good season.”