WJ knocks volleyball out of playoffs in first round

By By Joel Denicoff, Sports Editor

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The girls volleyball team had a short playoff run as it lost to Walter Johnson 3-0 in an away game in the first round of the playoffs Nov. 4.

 

The Bulldogs had difficulty with their defense against WJ but still fought hard against the tough WJ team who only had three losses in the season.

 

“We were unsuccessful against WJ because they had very good servers, which shook us up a little,” freshman Sara Chang said. “I know we are definitely capable of playing better than we did against WJ.”

 

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they are only losing four seniors from this season so the majority of the team will return next year. However, seniors Yasmin Akbari, Paula Dmitriev, Sophie Ettinger and Antonella Tellez were a crucial part to the team this year.

 

“I think we will do very well next year,” Chang said. “The team is going to work on defense: passing, serve receive and blocking.”

 

The girls team lost its last regular season game 3-2 to archrival Wootton in an away game Nov. 1. The loss brought the team’s final regular season record to 8-6. Despite the loss, the team played well, forcing Wootton in the fifth game into overtime.

 

“Even though we lost, it was one of our best games we played all year,” head coach Cindy Hillard said. “We played strong defense, and this will definitely help us learn for the playoffs Thursday.”

 

Even though the Bulldogs lost their last two games of the regular season, this is the second most games the team has won since 2003.

 

“Much of our success is credited to our new coach who really brings something special to the team,” junior Lauren Lane said. “Also we have some underclassmen that joined the team and pulled through.”

 

Two of the strongest underclassmen are Chang and sophomore Kaitlin Hillard, the daughter of coach Hillard. Chang has 56 kills this season, the second most on the team. She also has the second most blocks with 27. Hillard leads the team with 99 kills.

 

“I think we did well in the regular season, but I know we are capable of so much more,” Chang said. “I think we improved a lot compared to previous years, mainly because of our coach.”