FS girls’ volleyball caps undefeated season with title victory

By Ophir Cohen-Simayof

Originally published on December 8, 2014

Freshman outside left front hitter Ciara Kosai attempts to spike the ball in the Cardinals’ 25–5, 25–10 victory over the Galileo Lions in the semifinal match on Nov. 12. Kosai led the team with 11 kills in the championship match on Nov. 14. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

The frosh-soph girls’ volleyball team beat the Washington Eagles at the Academic Athletic Association championship match with set scores of 25–19 and 25–16, ending their league season undefeated on Nov. 14.

“We knew they were going to hit the ball in these certain places, and we were ready for it.”

With blaring music and loud cheers, the Lowell frosh-soph girls walked onto the court proud and ready to win. However, the Eagles proved that the Cardinals would not have an easy victory, as they came to the game with new strategies and positions.

For every one to two points that the Cardinals scored in the first set, the Eagles would score another one. However, the girls gained momentum after a timeout. “We had to change our mentality a little bit,” sophomore co-captain and defense specialist Julia Baran said. “We worked down those strategies and had counterattacks. We knew they were going to hit the ball in these certain places, and we were ready for it.”

Freshman middle front hitter Uma Krishnaswamy soars with her focus on the ball in the seminfinals on Nov. 12. Krishnaswamy contributed two kills in the first set of the championship match on Nov. 14. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

In the first set, freshman outside left front hitter Ciara Kosai lead the team by scoring a total of seven kills. Freshman right side hitter Elise Ng also made a total of two kills row. sophomore co-captain outsider hitter Emily Yee, along with freshman and sophomore middle front hitters Uma Krishnaswamy and Naomi Miner, also made major contributions, each putting over two kills.

“I am proud of them. They showed me they can do it, so hopefully that transitions into varsity.”

In the second set, the Eagles began with a 2–0 lead, but the girls gained momentum by the fourth point, where freshman setter Erica Zee scored two aces in a row. This allowed the girls to gain confidence, with Yee making three kills and Kosai making four in one rotation. “In the second set, when the Eagles were out of rotation, we pushed a lot of points, and their momentum was down,” Kosai said.The girls have been mentally ready since their last game against the Eagles at October’s Battle of the Birds, according to head coach Josh Jung. “We try and set a standard,” Jung said. “So every game we play, whether it is championships or regular season, we always come out with the same effort and motivation to win the game.”

Sophomore middle front hitter Naomi Miner extends her arms to block a shot in the semifinals. Miner had two kills in the first set of the championship match. Photo by Zoe Kaiser

“It was a really good season, and a really good way to end it.”

The next step towards improvement for the girls would be to prepare for playing on the Varsity team. “The improving comes when they are older — juniors and seniors — and hopefully lead those teams to championships,” Jung said. “They have the mentality; it is just putting that mentality onto the court. I am proud of them. They showed me they can do it, so hopefully that transitions into varsity.”

The FS volleyball team has now won the AAA Championships and looks forward to future victories. “It was a really good season, and a really good way to end it,” Baran said.

Most Valuable Player

The Lowell has selected sophomore Julia Baran as Most Valuable Player.

As defense specialist, or more commonly known as libero, Baran is responsible for keeping the ball off the ground and passing it to other people. By constantly staying focused and on the edge of her feet, Baran saves almost every spike, kill, or ace that the opposition will try. “It is a lot of anticipation,” Baran said. “So if you are not focused and paying attention, then it is really hard to play. Because anyone can hit a ball over or pass it, but the hard part is knowing what to do next.”

Reflecting on the season, Baran does not see many challenges, as league games went smoothly. Baran lead the team to victory in all games. One reason why she is so good at the game is because she has a good team to support her. Baran loves the game because it is a true team sport. “It is just a different environment,” Baran said. “You just worry about getting the ball up. You need a completely different mindset.”