Volleyball’s Spike of a Season

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By Abby Fletcher

Volleyball is a game of mental toughness, standing two feet away from your opponent staring them down between the net. The Tuscarora Varsity Volleyball team had more opportunities to stare down the net than ever as they extended their season to a first time run at states.

Starting off the season with a win against JEB Stuart High School in late August the team got the ball rolling both literally and figuratively. After that first win the team won two straight home games 3 to 0, just to follow up with a tough loss to Oakton 0 to 3.  The record was not the only thing that started out strong, the confidence that the coaches had in his athletes were evident from the first practice.

“Coach made a list of goals we could accomplish during the season. One of those goals was to advance to conference. All of the girls laughed at the idea, but they had no  idea what these coaches would bring to the table, and how fast we would all click as a team,” said Erin Baroody.

The team did have some serious down moments throughout the season. Plagued with injuries right from the start, from serious knee injuries, to tweaked thumbs, the girls were put through the wringer. But they persevered and kept winning games, like against John Handley High School on September 13th, 3 to 2.

With several freshmen and underclassmen on the team the girls worked extra hard to prove to their opponents that age or experience did not matter when it came to game day.  “I had so many butterflies on the first day of practice.  I wasn’t sure what to expect. I felt the need to prove to myself, to my teammates, and to my coaches that I was put on varsity for a reason,” stated Ella Solomon. Solomon didn’t let her young age deter her nor her team, going onto win three games in a row 2 to 0 in the middle of the season.

With the stadium seats trembling, and the screams of the crowd echoing through the gym, the volleyball team used their momentum to move onto the Conference 14 Tournament. Playing as the high seed against Briar Woods the team cruised through winning 3 to 0. From that win, the lady huskies were ready to play for the Conference 14 Championship at home as a high seed against Potomac Falls High School.

“We made THS volleyball history which is a really big deal, and we proved to our teams in our conference that we could compete,” Sarah Pearsall

Bump, set, and spike…Conference 14 Champions.Cameras flashing, smiles beaming, and trophy in hand the team were thinking ahead to the Region 5A Tournament six days later at home.

Winning both games in the tournament against Albermarle, and Massaponax High School, the team mentally and physically prepared for the Region 5A Championship game against their tough competitor, Briar Woods High School.

The game against Briar Woods was a nail-biter to say the least. Tuscarora winning the first set, Briar winning the second, Tuscarora winning the third, and then Briar winning the fourth, so it all came down for the fifth and final set. With the region title in their sight, Briar narrowly edged out Tuscarora within the final moments of the game.

“The game against Briar was such a close match, and we definitely could have won. Because we were so close it really just made us mad, so we channeled that aggression and used it to work hard for the state game,” said Vanessa Marinelli.

Even though the team lost the region title game they were able to move onto the first round of the state championship, but as a lower seed. Traveling four hours to Virginia Beach to play Princess Ann High School, the pressure, anxiety, and excitement was immense. Standing two feet away from their opponent stareing the down between the net. The Tuscarora Varsity Volleyball team lost to Princess Ann. The team didn’t hang their heads low,but instead celebrated that they had gotten as far as they did. The seniors on the team reminisced on their four wonderful years with the Tuscarora volleyball program, while the rest of the team thought towards next year with a twinkle in their eyes.