Girls volleyball faces difficulties, finishes as more collective team

Despite finishing with an 8-27 record, the girls volleyball team displayed commendable teamwork and grit to make it through a tough season.

“[There’s been] lots of ups and downs,” says senior varsity co-captain Kate Schepke. “Our goal was to be very united on the court and off the court. Rather than being six separate players, being one collective force.”

A trusting, united team was especially important this year, during a season stricken with COVID protocols and the stress of the transition back to in-person school.

“The players, and all students and student-athletes, have had to navigate the pandemic and it has been a long road,” says varsity head coach Elizabeth Brieva. “It has impacted everyone a bit differently.”

On the court, players are mandated to wear masks for all indoor sports. Although that may be unpleasant for many athletes, the real challenge was off the court, in which players had to balance schoolwork, volleyball, jobs, personal responsibilities and relationships, and for the six seniors, college applications, all after a COVID-induced shortened off-season.

“We didn’t have that [long] off-season; it was very go-go-go,” says Schepke. “Also, a lot of the girls didn’t really know each other that well or walked onto a varsity sport [for the first time post-pandemic].”

Transitions are hard for most people, especially teenagers performing a seemingly impossible balancing act. But with experienced players and unified captains, the Kits kept their heads up, finishing a difficult season as more of a team than when they began.

“I really enjoyed getting to know the players on our team,” says Brieva. “They worked hard and they encouraged each other throughout the season. They are all dedicated student-athletes who pushed themselves on and off the court.”