Co-ed volleyball crushes last season’s record


Photo by Erik Kleinbussink

Co-ed volleyball huddles around coach Mary Malinauskas during the BCC quarter final.

Co-ed volleyball finished off their season with a winning record of 11-1 in the regular season and 1-1 in the playoffs. In addition to wanting to do the best they can, the team wanted to have fun, build strong friendships, improve their skills, and advance as far as they could in the playoffs.

In the regular season, the team only had one loss to Sherwood and went on to playoffs and won their first game Gaithersburg 3-1. In the semifinals of playoffs, they lost against Bethesda-Chevy Chase 3-2, but instead of hanging their heads, they made sure to comfort each other and stay positive.

On Apr. 21 the team had a match against their rivals the Churchill Bulldogs which was an important win for the team. To prepare for the game the team held serious practices going all out, they showed up ready to play and prepared for the game. Their hard work and intense practices paid off with a win against Churchill 3-2.

Last season the team had a 9-1 record but through all their hard work this season they “performed really well against skilled teams and definitely made huge improvements since the beginning of the season,” sophomore Naima Cho-Kaliq said.

Throughout the season, team bonding helped the team become stronger on and off the court. With team dinners, breakfasts, game-day dress-up themes, making posters for seniors, and a banquet, the bonding helped to make players more comfortable on the court. A key component of volleyball is trusting your teammates and understanding how they play the sport, and through team bonding, players are able to feel more comfortable with each other to play better. With close friendships off the court, “you aren’t as afraid to make mistakes because you know you aren’t being judged [on the court],” freshman Alek Bargman said.

Team bonding helped players to feel more comfortable with each other but learning the skills and how to work together came from their practices every day 3-5 p.m. after school and extra practices on Saturdays. With six players on the court and only a maximum of three hits per side, working together to receive, set, and hit the ball required teamwork and high game IQ. Practices were a pivotal part of their teamwork allowing the team to succeed this season by working so well together to win 11 games.

Practicing allowed players to familiarize themselves with their teammates to understand how to coordinate their plays together since everyone’s play styles differ. Working on drills like serve and receive and scrimmaging allowed players to “understand how each other play but also to help improve us individually with our different skills,” junior Kellen Christensen said.

A crucial part of this team is head coach Mary Malinauskas, who also coached girls’ varsity volleyball in the fall season. Her dedication to the team allowed for their success this season because of their help with training at practices to scouting videos of other teams. Volleyball requires specific form and Malinauskas helped the team improve through the season by sending videos to help refine and build upon the player’s form and technique on the court. Before playing other teams it’s important to know how the opponents play in order to stop them and win. Malinauskas gave the team scout videos of other teams to review and helped analyze their play style and strategies to win. “[She] gave us countless opportunities to improve,” Bargman said.