Girls Volleyball: Team getting hot at right time

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Losing the first game of the season is often a bad sign for the road ahead. The look of “0-1” as a team’s record is sickening enough, but the fact that it was to arch rival Churchill made it worse. The only silver lining for the girls’ volleyball team was that their opening loss gave them a wake-up call before they ever really fell asleep.
For a while, the girls took off and never looked back, winning eight straight matches while simultaneously vaulting themselves into championship contender status. The secret to their success? Much like Washington Nationals All-Star outfielder Bryce Harper’s “Make Baseball Fun Again” campaign, the girls put their own spin on it, implementing an enjoyable mentality in every practice. “It wasn’t strict, it was really fun, and because it was really fun I think we could really draw out our full potential to do our best,” junior middle blocker/outside hitter Cynthia Sheng said.
On Oct. 13, the reigning state champion, the Northwest Jaguars rained on the Patriots’ parade, handing them their first loss in over a month. The Jags took the hotly contested first set of their 3-1 victory by a narrow margin of 26-24. The Patriots completely turned the tables with a dominant display in the second set, practically doubling the Jaguars’ score and winning 25-12. Northwest quickly shut down any thoughts of an uprising, as they won the next two sets by respective scores of 25-16 and 25-18, clinching the win.
The Patriots most recently finished their regular season in a 3-2 thriller against Blair on Oct. 27. After a season full of matches more or less dominated by a single team, a neck-and-neck battle to the finish could not come at a better time with the playoffs looming ahead.
The Patriots started with the upper hand, winning the first set 25-17, but Blair stormed back winning two subsequent sets in a row, including a tight 25-22 third set. The Patriots forced the match into sudden death, a point they had not reached all season, with a 25-19 win in the fourth set.
With everything on the line, the Patriots made it clear who wanted it more. Winning the fifth set 15-11, the girls finished the season 12-2, besting last year’s 11-3 record, toward the top of the league table.
“They’re really good, they play together [well] as a team. I think this is one of their best seasons,” freshman team manager Lauren Colliver said.
The girls were given a challenge on Oct. 24 when they faced off against the slumping Rockville Rams. The Rams’ season storyline had been an inverse of the Patriots’, starting the season a respectable 5-3 only to fall to 5-7 entering the match. The Rams put up a good effort, but the Patriots were able to pull off a 3-1 victory.
The team entered the Rockville match coming off consecutive 3-0 wins against Quince Orchard on Oct. 18 and Blake on Oct. 20. While Quince Orchard has been mediocre at best this season, Blair (9-5) is one of the stronger opponents they have faced.
Their victory against Blair provided some reassurance of whether or not they could go deep into the postseason.
The girls’ volleyball team is on a roll, at the best time. Senior hitter Madison Adore has provided the leadership on the court that this team needs to beat the odds, and her supporting cast strengthened by junior hitter Chanel Lucas’ defense and junior setter Fatima Bouzid’s serving has been good enough to place them among the best in the postseason pool.
The tank is full, the engine is revving and the girls are in the driver’s seat.
It’s up to them if they want to get past the Churchills and the Northwests and reach their destination.
Pats will continue to prepare as their eyes are set on the championship.

 

Joe Pohoryles

JV Sports Editor