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Freshman-filled JV volleyball team adjusts to change, builds confidence

Photo credit: Archer Athletics
Freshmen Pheobe Measer and Chloe Ventura Ruvalcaba high-five after a point in a preseason match against St. Monica Preparatory. Archer’s JV volleyball team lost 0-2 against St. Monica and most recently beat the Oakwood School 2-0.

As thousands of freshmen across the country start high school, many of them, about 62%, are also facing the challenge of balancing high school athletics and academics. Archer’s JV volleyball team is surpassing the national rate, as about 93% of the players are freshmen.

JV Volleyball player Frankie Scott (’27) is one of the 13 freshmen on the team, which has 14 members in total. Scott said some of the new aspects of being an upper school volleyball player at Archer are the increased hours of practice and match play, the commute to and from the gym and balancing a heavier workload with volleyball and other extracurriculars.

Monday through Friday from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., the team completes drills, partner and group exercises and practice matches. In middle school, Archer athletes attend three to four practices per week, but in high school, all five practices are mandatory in volleyball.

“[Volleyball] definitely keeps me and my friends busy after school,” Scott said. “I have a pretty long commute to the gym, but it’s still really fun because I meet a ton of fun people.”

The team had their first win of the season when they beat Oakwood 2-0 Sept. 14, making the team’s record 1-6. The team has matches until Oct. 13, with their final match being against The Buckley School. JV Volleyball Coach Trevor Briggs said that because so many of the players are new to high school athletics and this a very young team, they are currently more focused on building the team’s confidence rather than the outcome of each game.

Briggs has been coaching at Archer for two years. During a typical practice at the gym, players appoint two captains for the day to lead them in warmups and learn leadership skills and responsibility. The team also sets two smaller, more manageable goals for each practice to increase confidence.

“Our larger goal for this year is to get all these kids to build their confidence,” Briggs said. “We want them to make friends and we try to build [their confidence] up so that later on, we can worry about volleyball. Right now, we’re building people, which I love …  We have a lot of new transfers who don’t know anyone else, and I’m like, ‘Perfect. You’re all going to go say hi to each other on the first day of school.'”

Some of the freshmen on the team are returning students from eighth grade at Archer, but for others, it is their first year. They have to adjust to a new team in addition to adjusting to the environment of a new school. Scott said returning players and students are helping new freshmen by showing them the ropes of athletics at Archer and leading during practice and matches.

“I came [to Archer] in seventh grade, and I was really nervous,” Scott said. “There’s a lot of new people coming into Archer Volleyball that are new freshman, and I feel like making [the transition] is as smooth and most comfortable as they can is important. It is how I would want to feel.”

Scott said the adjustment to high school athletics has been challenging but also rewarding, and players including Chiara Silveri (’27) have found different ways to manage their work.

“I like getting my work done like later at night because I just feel more productive then,” Silveri said. “Also, I have some time in school with free periods.”

Briggs said he understands the stress of the adjustment to high school on freshmen. During the preseason, the team had longer days because there was not any school. Now, their practice schedule has been reduced so the student athletes can manage their work. For game days, the JV team stays after their matches to support varsity, which decreases their available time to complete homework. Briggs said he helps his athletes by encouraging them to take advantage of every minute.

“I just tell them do your homework on the bus, study on the bus — you can sit around and do homework if we’re early, and then after, go home and focus on your work,” Briggs said. “We don’t need [them] to be thinking about [their] volleyball when [they] get home; they should focus on their school.”

In middle school, players would have more home games on the sport court and practice outdoors whereas in high school, players train at a gym outside of Archer’s campus.

“I think because we finally get a gym now and we go to a place to train, it’s a step up, and it’s more serious,” Silveri said. “Recently, we’ve been running lines and doing a lot more exercise to stay [active and prepared]. There’s a lot of nerves because no one’s ever been on a high school team since we’re all freshmen. It’s definitely fun because it’s a lot of people that I am comfortable with … but the competition has increased.”

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About the Contributor
Oona Seppala, Senior Reporter
Oona Seppala joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2022 and became a senior reporter in 2023. She plays on the varsity tennis team, is a member of Archer's a cappella group, is on the Honor Education Council and Service Squad. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her friends, reading, and playing instruments.

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