As sophomore Alli Arner steps up to serve the ball, she stares into the eyes of her opponent, craving a successful set. Lead by sophomore captains Liza Broydo and Stephanie Geng, along with coach Tony Malinauskas, the Patriots are set to have a successful season.
Prior to their Sept. 13 game, the Patriots were 1-1. On this day, the team played the Walter Johnson Wildcats. The game started out slow for the Patriots, as they suffered serving, serve receiving and hitting errors in the first match.
Last year, the team came into the season needing improvement and practice, whereas this season there was a lot more experience at the beginning. “Most of the freshmen had played club prior to joining the team,” sophomore Alli Arner said. “We started the season a lot quicker this year, last year we had to practice a lot more before we got into the swing of winning.”
This proved helpful for the team since they had more time to focus on team work.
In the beginning of their game, the Patriots struggled with their defensive game. “It was okay, but it could have been better,” Arner said.
After losing the first match 27-25, the Patriots improved their game. The second match ended with a Patriots victory, 25-23. This was continued through the third match leading the team to a victory with a 15-9 win, overall 2-1.
The idea of “no ball hits the floor” that the team takes into every game truly came through in the second and third set, as the Patriots battled it out. Specifically, the team shined with their defense. “Both teams were very on-the-ball defensively,” Malinauskas said. “But, our passing was simply impeccable against a skilled Walter Johnson hitter.”
Sophomore Kayla Huang stayed consistent on defense, while freshman Kendall Jaicee provided much needed blocks to help boost the Patriots forward. “The players were impressive during the game,” senior Chanel Lucas said. “I am really excited to have some of them carry on to varsity next season.”
The girls were focused on beating Gaithersburg in their next match on Sept. 19, but the game was played too late to be included in this issue.
Looking forward, the team is excited to play the rest of the season, but ultimately wants to beat their number one rivals, Churchill.
As their last game of the season on Oct. 17, they are hoping for a big turnout. “We didn’t beat Churchill last year, it was our only loss,” Arner said. “We want to win this year.”