Seniors Set the Pace for Volleyball Team

Kalina Kornacki, staff writer

With every bump, set, spike and dig, the Varsity Volleyball team continues to grow in skill and confidence. They continue to push themselves over the limit and keep fighting even when they are tired as can be. But where do they find this energy?

The motivation of Senior Varsity Team Captains Molly Eng and Cherie Ma allows the team to work a little harder and sweat a little more. These two senior captains are a huge help to the team, empowering them with their wide knowledge on the different tactics of the game.

Eng says, “I was super excited and happy to have been voted a captain during my last year. I knew I had to step up to the challenge and become a role model for my team and everyone else in the volleyball program.”

“She’s really observant and has a great court awareness, so we watch films, she takes notes on the board so that we know what to look out for” senior outside hitter Andi Bloom says.

Being a setter, Eng is constantly running around on the court. It is her job to make sure that the ball goes right to where the outside, middle, and right side hitters need it. She does her job incredibly well and never fails to impress everyone. Along with the pressure of setting up the hitters, she also has to help set the bar high as a captain.

“I feel that I have been a good influence on the team. I understand and push my team when needed but I also understand when it is time to have fun and laugh a little” Eng says. “I am super proud of the volleyball team this year for being able to make so many switches at the beginning of the year and being flexible.”

Going along with the idea of pushing her team, Eng knows exactly what to work on with each person. She is constantly observing and analyzing each of the players’ movements, figuring out how to help them and the team in general.

But how did volleyball influence Eng herself?  Eng says, “Volleyball has had such a large influence in my life. It has taught me so many lessons that I would not have learned without playing a team sport. I have learned lessons such as not to be afraid to make mistakes.”

So even as she makes mistakes, she sees each one as an experience to improve her skills and improve her knowledge. This is such an important characteristic to have, especially as a captain. Even with a minor concussion at the beginning of the season, she was able to heal quickly and get back on the court with twice the amount of enthusiasm and spirit.

As a libero, Cherie Ma is often seen as an extension of the defensive specialist, which would be Sofia Terrezza. A libero must have the best passing and defensive skills. They play back row and are usually the ones receiving the ball when it comes over the net. That means that the libero is constantly running around, taking balls that come up short or running to the very back of the court to pass the ball back up.

So obviously, you impact the team a lot as a libero. Now add that on top of being team Captain, and there is the potential for a huge impact.

From Ma’s perspective:  “During games things can get tense, so I want to lighten the mood. I also hope I have influenced others to have fun but still work hard, because being on the team should be enjoyable while getting better at the sport.”

Playing volleyball with a constant movement of people on the court and constant changing emotions during the game can be stressful. Whether excited, disappointed, angry, or tired, the tension on the court can be visible, even if the team is winning. The stress is especially heavy on the captains.

“The most stressful part of being captain is probably that there are always different opinions and personalities can clash. I’m someone who always hopes that everyone is happy, so that can be stressful when sensing a dispute will occur,” Ma states.

But even with the stress and all of the craziness in volleyball, Ma still absolutely loves the sport.

“I’ve played volleyball for almost 7 years.  By now and it has been an integral part in my life. I have met so many people and made many friends. It has taught me teamwork, leadership, and independence.”

Both girls, Eng and Ma, have incredible personalities and are tremendously talented in the positions they play.

There is one other captain on Varsity who takes on the stress as well, who is not even a senior yet, middle hitter Elizabeth Blank.

“Elizabeth is always a super positive force on the court. She never complains, and she always cheers everyone on. She keeps her head in the game, but she never lets the losses get to her and tries to uplift others on the team” Bloom says.

“I believe my team captains have extremely affected my playing because they have helped me to improve and learn more about volleyball“ Terrezza says.

Without these team captains, the volleyball season may have turned out differently. The energy, optimism, knowledge, and kindness from the Varsity captains was incredibly helpful to the team’s season.

As a final note, thank you so much to all of the seniors for participating in the High School Volleyball program. We all wish you the best of luck in the future!

Senior Captain Cherie Ma

The team includes Andrea (Andi) Bloom (senior, outside hitter #12), Gaja Wehrle (senior, outside hitter #15), Sofia Terrezza (senior, defensive specialist #17), Ayla Silbahar (senior, right hitter #19), Molly Eng (senior, setter #3), Kaylin Au (senior, outside hitter #8), Cherie Ma (senior, libero/defensive specialist #23), Giovanna (Gigi) Canali (senior, middle hitter #10), Grace Durando (senior, middle hitter #4), Elizabeth Blank (junior, middle hitter #48), and Alexy Eng (freshmen, right hitter #7).