Photo Courtesy of Derek Fenton
The WCHS girls varsity volleyball team has played its way through the 2018-2019 regular season with a 5-6 record. Their record may not look pretty, but this WCHS team is as tough as they come and continues to play its hardest.
“We are playing bigger and digging deeper than we ever have,” coach Cindy Hillard said.
The team lost around half of its players this year, meaning that they had to adjust niches and roles at the beginning of this season. But this process did not come without growing pains. Even so, the team stepped up and played through the challenges.
“From our first game to the postseason, we have improved on communicating and playing as a team instead of as individuals,” senior and captain Christina Zhu said.
With the loss of many great players, new opportunities arose for others. Many players have stepped up and taken on bigger roles within the team. Many players have had great individual games, such as freshman Anna Siegenthaler’s breakout night where she had 12 kills, which is when the opposing team cannot return a hit. Siegenthaler even had a hitting percentage of 43.4 percent. Sophomore Haley Phillips has stepped up as well and leads the team with 110 kills. One especially key player on the team has been junior Ashley Chen, who plays as a libero, a player that specializes in defending, for the team.
According to Hillard, Chen is a “digging machine” who has kept the team in the match “time after time.”
Off the volleyball court, the team has truly come together by bonding and becoming a unit. One great bonding experience for the team was their senior night, where they honored seniors Zhu and Nikkia Zarabian. The team made posters and celebrated the two seniors’ special night.
“My teammates put together a really great night and it was really heartwarming,” Zhu said.
The team also participated in their annual Dig Pink night. The team dressed in pink clothing and helped raise money for breast cancer awareness. Each player contributed by raising money and by providing an assortment of treats for their bake sale.
“The team rallied to collect over $2000 in donations both at the bake sale and online,” Hillard said.
Aside from special events such as these, the team has grown closer over the course of the season by simply hanging out with each other.
“We are a really tight-knit team and everyone is good friends with one another,” Zhu said.
With the team firing on all cylinders, there are high hopes for the playoffs. But no matter how the season ends, the team’s perseverance and unity has been a success in and of itself. As for next season, there is no doubt that the team will be back and better than ever.
“With the majority of our starters returning next year, I think that the team will start at a higher level and rise much further next year,” Hillard said.