The varsity girls’ volleyball team decimated the Washington Eagles 3-0 on Sept. 14. The annual Battle of the Birds ensured a large and emphatic audience in Lowell’s gymnasium.
The Cardinals’ dominance started with the first set. The excellent setups of seniors setter Sinead Beaupain and outside hitter Eunice Go, along with the powerful hits of junior middle blocker Mariko Tanaka, secured many of the Cardinals’ wins in the first set. Though the Eagles were able to interrupt the Cards’ dominant streaks several times, their moves were always short-lived. As the end of the set drew near, Beaupain delivered several stellar serves and eventually enabled the Cards’ victory of 25-12.
The Cards maintained their dominance as the second set began. A number of early points gained by senior outside hitter and right-side hitter Annamarie Kelly served reinforced the Cards’ dominance. But then the Eagles began to regain momentum. Displaying serving prowess on par with Lowell, the Eagles’ score surged ahead, placing them in the lead for the first time. This dominance, however, was just as short-lived as all others when the Cardinals reclaimed the initiative and regained the lead. Again, Lowell’s vicious serves and implacable defense racked up numerous points. When a hit into Washington’s undefended midcourt by Go ended the set 25-15, Lowell had regained their confidence.
In the final set, a block by Tanaka immediately put Lowell ahead. The Cardinals were animated throughout the set. Previously overlooked players like senior middle blocker Betsy Li contributed to several scores while junior libero Kimberly Yee and Tanaka continued to form a strong defense, blocking several strong serves by Washington. The latter third of the set was an unbroken scoring streak, and Washington’s desperation served to hurt them as much as the Cardinals’ skill did. The set ended with a predictable victory of 25-12.
Reflecting on their home victory in Battle of the Birds, assistant coach Josh Jung was satisfied with the team’s performance but still looked forward to future improvements. “I think the biggest thing is we just need to be more confident in ourselves and our defense needs to get better,” he said.
The Cardinals will face against the Lincoln Mustangs, last year’s champion for the AAA Volleyball Girls Championship, in their next game. “We always watch out for them,” Jung said. “But no matter if we’re playing a good team or the best team in the world, we prepare in the same way.”
Their next game will be on Friday, Sept. 28 at 5:15 p.m. at home.