After a long season and months of collaboration and teamwork, the girls varsity volleyball team lost, 0-3, to Big Valley Christian on Nov. 3 in the first round of playoffs.
From the get-go, the girls were behind. They picked up towards the end of the first set, but lost the set, 17-25.
They started to cool off again in the beginning of the second.
At time out, they were down, 5-15. Shortly after, they scored seven points in a row.
But after their sudden gain, they came down again, losing the second set, 13-25.
According to sophomore Heidi Johnson, the third set seemed to be the Cavs’.
“It wasn’t until the third game we really got going,” Johnson said.
In the middle of the set, they were on a massive winning streak, and there was lots of communication on the court.
When the Cavs were up 21-17, the crowd was going wild, and even coach Sarah Song was screaming in delight, opening her arms wide and bouncing up and down.
But soon after, the Big Valley Christian girls came up rapidly from 18 to 23 in a matter of minutes.
The last few minutes of the third set were jaw-clenchingly suspenseful. If the Cavs had won that set, the teams would have had to battle it out for at least one more set.
In the end, the Cavs couldn’t pull through, losing that decisive set narrowly, 23-25.
Nonetheless, there were many factors going into this game that were not in the Cavs’ favor.
Johnson believes that fear and anxiety got the best of them that evening.
“People were feeling some nerves, knowing how important the game was and that it might be our last,” Johnson said.
Captain Alexa Mathisen also noted that the girls began resorting to the same weakness that has been their Achilles’ heel for the entire season: passing.
“We didn’t block well, which made them better able to get kills,” Mathisen said.
“We could’ve passed better off serve receive. Almost all of our swings we took in system (in their three-touch system) on the net were kills, but when we passed poorly, our sets weren’t as great and we weren’t in a good position to get kills.”
Maybe Big Valley Christian’s biggest strength will turn out to hurt them next year. Their team was all seniors and juniors with just one freshman.
On the other hand, the Cavs will lose only Mathisen, Kaeleigh Valverde and Isabelle Leavy next year, leaving the team largely unchanged.
“Every year that our seniors leave, I miss their qualities,” Song said.
“(Mathisen), (Leavy) and (Valverde) will be missed, and I hope that the players next year will step up into leadership positions.”
Mathisen, one of the team’s starters, played outside of school and has been recruited for her volleyball abilities.
Although this ending was disheartening, the girls took it in stride, as their coaches Song and Jason Kreps have been emphasizing the entire season.
“We had good spirits and energy, and we fought really hard to get that lead,” Johnson said.
“Unfortunately it wasn’t enough in the end, but it was still a fun and rewarding season.”
Junior Yasmin Gupta agreed, saying she believes the team has improved.
The girls started off unsure as to how everyone was going to play on court, as they had had very little experience with each other.
Then, merely few weeks into the season, freshman Bri Davies suffered a knee injury, leaving a large hole to be filled for the girls.
Nonetheless, they carried through.
“A lot of people stepped up, and we gave it our all,” Gupta said.
Johnson ended on a positive note with her feelings on next year.
“We tried so many different lineups and positions for different players, but no matter what everyone tried their best, and no one complained,” Johnson said.
“For a largely new team who also had a great player injured in the beginning of the season, I think we did a great job of adapting, learning and winning league!”