Girls Varsity Volleyball Finishes Season on a High Note


Oliver Konopko, Staff Writer

With a final record of 4-8, the Girls Varsity Volleyball team finished their season last Saturday with a hard-fought win at Riverdale’s Homecoming. 

The team finished their season with games against Fieldston, Poly Prep, and Riverdale. The team played Fieldston last Monday and lost 0-3; Poly Prep last Wednesday and lost 0-3; Riverdale last Saturday and won 3-2.

All of these games were away, which added a lot of pressure to the matches, Maddie Kim (11) said.

In addition to the mental challenge, away games pose a physical one too, Bella Sepulveda (10) said. Different teams’ gyms affect how they play the game — in the school’s gym, the ball is still playable if it hits the scoreboard, whereas at Dalton, hitting the scoreboard ends the point. 

Despite the losses, they played well as a team, Kim said. “Everyone was putting 110% effort into the games.”

The Riverdale game was especially challenging due to the large crowd, Kim said. However, the team was extra motivated to beat Riverdale because they had beaten the Lions at their homecoming, Kim said. “Their crowd was absurd –– they had horns, cowbells, and were just loud in general, but I think that gave us the motivation to play well.” 

The team put an end to Riverdale’s roaring crowd when Varsity Captain Jaelah Taylor (12) won the game for them. “Jaelah just came up and spiked the ball and Riverdale was nowhere near it,” Girls Varsity Coach Jason Torres said.

After the Lions won, the team ran out and celebrated on the court, Torres said. “I got the game video back and I replayed that moment several times — I really appreciated what a big moment it was.”

Despite the great win, the Riverdale game was bittersweet, Brianna Wells (10) said. “We won, but then you think about how you won’t be on the same court with this team again and that was sad.”

As the season drew to a close, one thing that held the team back was how players got in their own heads and lost confidence in themselves, Sepulveda said. To combat this issue, the team called timeouts and reassured the players on the court to help them regain their focus.

Another aspect the team struggled with this year was serving, Torres said. “Our serving could be hot and cold at times, and sometimes it’d happen in really close games.”

A bad serve can end a point immediately or give the other team an easy opportunity to score, Wells said.

Sepulveda was impressed by the team’s effort during these last few games. “There were times when one of the players would touch [the ball] and another player would run across and even off the court to save it –– it was really impressive,” she said.

This season was Sepulveda’s first year on Varsity, and one thing that stood out to her was how demanding the team schedule was. “It was a reality check for me,” she said. 

Despite the challenge, Sepulveda really enjoyed practicing with the team. “After school, you obviously want to go home, but it was nice to work on our skills each day,” she said. “It didn’t feel like we had to be there, but that we all wanted to be there and get better.”

Some notable players this season were Brianna Wells (10), Michelle Orloff (11), Eva Campbell (12), and Sofia Kim (11), Kim said. Many players have had to play positions they don’t normally play, but everyone did a good job adjusting.

Torres is going to miss the seniors’ leadership next year, he said. “I sort of sat them down at the beginning of this season and told them they had a chance to lead and create a great culture for the team, and they did.” 

Wells looks forward to her next two years on the team, she said. “I got a taste of what intense volleyball is and I really enjoyed it, so I’m super excited to get back to next season.