Volleyball: Bumping and ‘Setting’ Their Place in the Varsity League

Volleyball%3A+Bumping+and+%27Setting%27+Their+Place+in+the+Varsity+League

Taylor Hannibal, Journalist

img_1493

As a student at Ipswich High School, intramural volleyball season was the most competitive time of the year. It is carried on from middle school, and the competition has risen. Teams are randomly chosen in February, and students anxiously await for the lists to be taped onto the gym wall. But from the mass of bumping and setting students arose a group of girls who were ready to take their skills to the next level.

The school started out the group as a JV team because of all the excitement surrounding the intramurals. It was a good season for the group and they gained a lot of experience from their first year being competitive.

This year, the team was able to become varsity level. “We are thankful that our school approved girls volleyball as an interscholastic sport, as players are coming to tryout in large numbers and are falling in love with this exciting sport,” exclaimed coach Kerri O’Connor. This year’s girls volleyball varsity lineup includes Ava Huntley, Audra Morrow, Lauren Kennedy, Claudia Bauman, Sophia Rugo, Talia Kaplanian, Haley O’Connor, Mikayla Koerber, and captains Cameron Henderson, Carly Restuccia, and Meghan O’Connor. “There is a lot more competition now, being a varsity team,” said O’Connor. “We now are able to compete for playoffs and titles.” But the practice with the intramural program has given them practice to be the same level as other schools in the Cape Ann League. “Moving from JV to varsity has brought stronger competition against teams who have been established for years,” explained coach O’Connor, but something special the volleyball team has is their connection.

“If I could describe the team in one word it would be unified,” said captain O’Connor. “On and off the court we work together. We have all become such close friends and we have such a strong bond.” School-wide everyone knows the team to be close. “A lot of coaches from other schools have complemented our playing,” says O’Connor. The secret behind this strength is the team’s chemistry. “Each player is a leader and helps bond the team in their own special way,” says coach O’Connor. “Relationships are tight and we all communicate well on and off the court.”

The captains help the team stay connected. “It’s such a great experience being a captain for this team,” exclaimed O’Connor. “Working with Carly and Cameron is so fun, and we focus on making sure everyone is focused and having a good time.” This method is certainly working for the team, because they were able to finish their season with a 9-9 record and made into the quarter finals of the playoffs. “We remain positive and optimistic before any game,” said coach O’Connor when asked about the playoffs. “We know it will be a challenge as we are a low seed and will be up against strong competition, but we have the heart and desire to win, so we will take one game at a time and leave each one having fought as hard as we can.” All of the team’s hard work paid off on their first playoff game on Friday, November 4th, because they were able to beat Pope John 3-2. Unfortunately, they were unable to beat Lynnfield in the second round, but were able to put up a strong fight until the end.

“Our first year Varsity has been very positive and more successful than many expected of us,” said coach O’Connor. Despite the outcome of the playoffs, the team will still keep their strong bond off the court, and continue to grow and practice for their many varsity years to come.