Girls’ volleyball fights for wins in upper league

October 17, 2017 — by Sandhya Sundaram

In light of recent adjustments to increase team cohesion, the girls' volleyball team hopes to recover from recent losses and make it to CCS. 

The girls’ volleyball team tried out various lineups and formations of players during the preseason. Now, the girls are working on coming together to play against tougher competition in order to finish strong in the De Anza league.

 “We’re giving our competitors a really challenging match, which they don’t expect,” senior setter Dasha Gousseva said.

The team has won one of its league games so far against Los Altos on Oct. 5.

We worked well as a team together so that’s what really brought us that win, and we kept fighting till the end and never really let up,” senior outside hitter Hannah Fan said.

The team’s wins in the league and in tournaments have been mostly because of good communication and full effort from every player.

“In one of our tournaments we were playing against teams that I would even argue are better than teams in our league and we would win because we realized that it was a joint effort,” Gousseva said.

The girls lost their match against Los Gatos on Oct. 3 3-0, with the scores from each set being close. The team hopes to avenge this loss when they meet again on Los Gatos’ court on Oct. 24.

Senior middle blocker Isabella Strawn said that the team is working on being mentally tough and not letting the other team get in their heads.

“Physically we’re on par with all of these other teams, but it’s our mental game that we’re trying to work on,” Strawn said.

The team’s strengths are offense, especially since the outside hitters are very strong. Outside hitters, senior Riley Carter and junior Katie Hulme, have tried to mix up their hits to make the opposing team’s players move.

On Sept. 7, the Falcons lost 3-1 to Branham. Carter led the team with 21 kills, Fan had 12, and Hulme had 11.

Coach Steve Chiou said that the team is working on defense, especially playing cohesively in the back row. Gousseva said that the upper league presents many more challenging serves and hits than they saw in the lower league. To be competitive, the girls must improve their defense.

“Passing is where it all starts and we have a good offense, but we need to be able to get the pass up,” Strawn said.

Fan took on the role of libero after playing outside hitter in earlier games and has been vital in defense by passing and digging balls. Having never played libero before, Fan said that she was excited to step into the new position.

“Hannah has been stepping it up a lot in the back row,” Gousseva said. “She’s chasing down balls all the time which is awesome.”

The team has also been practicing with players from the boys’ varsity team in order to improve their defense and blocking.

With their record of 1-6 so far in the league as of Oct. 12, the Falcons hope they will still be able to make it to CCS.

Gousseva said that positive energy during games ultimately leads to wins.

“We’re working on trying to find that energy and that intensity to play through the whole match and for each player on the court to step up as a leader,” Gousseva said.

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