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2021 Volleyball: Junior Varsity Roundup

This year’s Junior Varsity volleyball team consisted of 11 student players, two student team managers and two staff coaches.

Due to the pandemic and the emergency situations surrounding it, official volleyball practices were not held until late September. Most of the Junior Varsity team was made up of people who had played no volleyball at all to people who had played volleyball for up to 4 years. Our experiences and our range of knowledge greatly improved the way we handled the games, even though we did not win any this year. However, it is important to point out that the bond that we formed with one another through practices and games was more than impressive.

The first game, held at CAJ, was on October 9th. The entire volleyball team, including Varsity and managers attended this game. For the JV team, this was the most difficult game we had this season.This was due to the fact that we had little to no experience playing as a team, causing us to fall apart when it came to team spirit and sportsmanship. We suffered a loss with a score of almost 10-25 in both sets. To say the least, it was a little dismal and anticlimactic. However, on the way to and from the game, we were in good spirits and this contributed to our positive attitudes for our coming games.

The second game was held at home, in our dazzling new gym. On October 27th, we played against Seisen, and it was in this game that we showed tremendous improvement and a sign that it was possible to win a few games if we could get the practice. With a score of 22-25 in the first set, we were only short of 3 points, almost a 12 point difference from the last game and a 44% increase in our success rate. The second set was less impressive, but we fought for every point and there was a visible improvement in the way we handled ourselves and our losses. The team came together after every point, congratulating each other on each point won and the profound impact it had on our mindsets is the reason why we all remember the game so well.

IMG 9593 Christina Furstenau

The third game was not a game itself, but a tournament- more specifically, the Kanto Girls Volleyball Tournament. This was held at CAJ on October 30th, only 3 days after the Seisen game. All of us were extremely nervous during these games, and unfortunately, this had a notable impact on our games that day. However, these were not failures for us, but simply an opportunity to play less seriously and pay more attention to our headspace rather than the scoreboard. We lost all 7 sets except one friendly set, in which we played against Seisen, which was rather ironic but caused a great improvement in our mental conditions. Our coaches reminded us that we were not playing for the points just yet, but we were aiming to play together and decrease our careless mistakes. This loss, however, did not cause any decline in enthusiasm and spirit, which is rare and very refreshing to see. All of us ended on a good note, and we were encouraged to keep on practicing.

The fourth game was the last and most memorable game of ours in the season. This game was on November 5th, against YIS at 4:30. With a score of 25-19 in the first set, this game was the first game in which everything that we had practiced really came together. All of us implemented the rotation and game strategies to full force, causing our defense, specifically, to improve at a large scale. We even implemented a different team call, a sizzling sound after every 3 points we won. The strength that we felt as a team was incredible, and it showed in our play too. The second set was a little less impressive, but we still managed to get a score of 16-25. The third and deciding set was the most gut wrenching, with all of us really trying to keep our score together. This set was until 15 points, giving us a lot less time and most importantly, less chances to go wrong. We were nervous and quite indecisive throughout the game, leading to a 10-15 score and a win for YIS. Though we were exhausted after the long match, all of us were the happiest that we’d been about a game so far, and it really helped us to understand where we stood as a team. Most importantly, this was the best game of the season for us and all the weaknesses that we had reduced significantly.

So was this a successful season? I would answer most definitely. The teamwork and sportsmanship required to play a team sport itself is a lot to ask, but coming to practice 3 times a week for 2 hours and playing together is even more demanding for some of us- but the fact is, this didn’t stop any of us from playing and truly, this is what matters. Every single person on this team had their own weaknesses and strengths, but all of us found a way to work together, even when things looked hopeless, which it did at a certain point. The moral of this is that one person can be excellent, him or herself, but it really takes the rest of the team to elevate the experience and play to another level. Though we might not have achieved this other level just yet, I am certain that all of us can and will achieve victory at some point in time, whether it be in our time at Saint Maur or beyond.

- The JV Volleyball Team

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