Communication: Key to JV girls’ volleyball success

Originally published on November 23, 2015

The Cardinals celebrate after winning the three-set match against the Washington Eagles in the championship game on Nov. 13. Photo by Lily Young

The JV girls’ volleyball team beat the Washington Eagles on Nov. 13 in a three-set match during the fight for the Academic Athletic Association title.

The entire match was a back-and-forth struggle to win and neither team was giving in. The Lady Cards used deep serves and tips when least expected to have an impressive advantage in the first set and were rewarded a six point lead, 19–13. However, the Eagles fought back and cut the lead to 20–19. Despite the Eagle comeback, the Cardinals won the first set 25–19.

The Cardinals had a seven point lead right after the set began, but the girls could not hold onto their lead. The Eagles recovered, and the game was then tied 20–20. The Cards dropped the next five points and lost the second set 25–20.

“That was the moment we knew that we were still in the game and had as much of a chance as anyone else.”

Some deep serves by the Cardinals and a lift violation set them behind during the third and final set, but the girls stayed in the game. “We were down 7–10 but fought back and received 5 points in return,” freshman outside hitter Eunice Go said. “That was the moment we knew that we were still in the game and had as much of a chance as anyone else, and even the advantage, too.”

Eventually, the Cardinals overcame the struggle and emerged victorious with set scores of 25–19, 20–25, and 15–12. This match gave them their seventh consecutive Academic Athletic Association championship title. They were undefeated for all 11 league games, including the championship match.

Freshman outside hitter Rebecca Xiao and sophomore outside hitter Sarah Chambers attempt to block an Eagle spike. Photo by Lily Young

Not only did the Cardinals have a perfect record, but they met their team goals as well. One of those goals was increasing the girls’ willingness to talk on the field, and that was a key component to training the team in between matches. Head coach Joshua Jung believes that the team has risen to the occasion and met expectations. “The result was what we had hoped to have at the beginning,” Jung said. “They came out with determination and never gave up. They got more familiar with each other and became friends off the court, and that helps a lot.”

“They came out with determination and never gave up. ”

The girls were able to acquire this level of communication through organized team-bonding exercises done outside of practice and on their own accord during or after school, according to Jung. The team bonding during practices also helped the girls achieve a feeling of camaraderie. “There was one practice where we played our hearts out and everyone was into the scrimmage against the coaches and there was a lot of screaming, yelling and laughing,” Go said. “We played so well. Everyone was so happy.”

That was just the case in the season’s closing game. The Cardinals battled the Eagles’ strength as a team and prevailed thanks to their communication on the courtfield. When a player wanted to bump the ball, they called out, “Mine!” When one girl wanted another to deliver a hard spike over the net, the girls’ names were called and points stacked up quickly.

The team wins the AAA title for the seventh consecutive year. Photo by Lily Young

Jung is pleased with the season’s outcome and believes the girls had steady improvement overall. “There was never really a turning point [in the season],” Jung said. “ There was no specific game when a lightbulb went off in their heads. They continued to grow and kept working hard.”

“They continued to grow and kept working hard.”

With this season’s goals accomplished, the players are eager for next season to hone their skills further. “We need to work on consistency, and a lot of defense,” Go said. “Our weak link is the serve-receive. That’s very crucial during a game and I hope to improve it tremendously.”

The coaches are also excited to see what the future has in store for these players. “The next level is varsity, so we hope that they continue to grow as players with their volleyball skills,” Jung said. “We hope it doesn’t end at JV. They have to continue to work for the next level.”