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Varsity volleyball senior night displays ‘sisterhood,’ seniors reflect on leadership, legacy

Photo credit: Rebecca Aranda
Senior Gemma Larbalestier dives for the ball during the game against Milken Community School. The varsity volleyball senior night ceremony took place after the game.

From a live DJ to a sports announcer to Archer’s panther mascot, varsity volleyball senior night abounded with with energy and spirit. The non-senior members of the team decorated the gym at Park Century School with posters and signed jerseys and gave each of the three seniors flower bouquets to commemorate their Archer volleyball experiences.

Varsity volleyball senior night took place at 6 p.m. Sept. 26, and the team played against Milken Community School. Archer defeated Milken 3-0 (25-18, 25-11, 25-11).

“We all played really strong, and we all played really hard. We’d beaten this team before, but we really didn’t underestimate them. We all really connected as a team,” varsity volleyball player Lili Franks (’25) said. “I think the season has been a little tough for us … It was definitely a challenge at first, but our chemistry as a team has really grown throughout the past two months that we’ve been playing together.”

Senior Isabella Jeffery and junior Dylan Evans-Robinson reach for the volleyball during a set against Milken Community School. Archer won the game 3-0. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Aranda)

Senior Isabella Jeffery said she has been waiting for her senior night since she first joined the volleyball program in middle school, and the event surpassed her expectations.

“I’ve been waiting for my senior night since sixth grade, honestly. I was like, ‘That’s going to be me someday,’ so I was super excited to finally have my turn,” Jeffery said. “I hope to leave the legacy of sisterhood. This year, bringing everyone together to talk about our intentions, to stay mentally focused before we go out and practice, is huge because that helps us connect before we go on the court. That’ll just bring us closer throughout the year.”

Senior Micaela Boxer-Wachler serves to begin a point against Milken Community School. The team’s record this season is 6-3. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Aranda)

Archer’s athletic department provided a fan bus for upper school students that transported the students from Archer to Park Century School. Many faculty and staff members also attended the event to celebrate the seniors. Junior Phoebe Ramirez dressed up as the Panther for the festivities.

“I remember the first senior night game I went to, there was a Panther. And I was like, ‘Whoa, that looks really fun,’ so I decided I want to do that,” Ramirez said. “It was really hot, but it was really fun. I got to dance around, and nobody knew who I was, so I didn’t feel embarrassed or anything. I would definitely do it again.”

Senior Gemma Larbalestier said she attributes her leadership skills to her involvement in the Archer volleyball program. She said she hopes to instill a sisterhood and express the importance of being your best self to her team.

“I hope to just leave the camaraderie that comes with being on a sports team with the team. And I hope to make everyone have a really great relationship with volleyball because that’s really what school volleyball and school sports in general is about,” Larbalestier said. “It’s about having a great time and also being competitive and representing your school in the best way possible way. So, just being better players and people in general is the legacy that I would want for Archer volleyball.”

Senior Gemma Larbalestier receives flowers from her team. All of the non-seniors members gifted flower bouquets to the three seniors at the beginning of varsity volleyball senior night. (Photo Credit: Rebecca Aranda)

Jeffery said she felt very supported and loved by the Archer community at senior night, and the impact the volleyball program has had on her transcends the court.

“Archer volleyball has definitely groomed me to be a leader,” Jeffery said. “When I’m playing volleyball in college, I can bring what I have learned to wherever my gym will be.”

The non-senior members of the team gave speeches for the seniors at the event and highlighted their contributions to the season.

“Getting to know the seniors has been the peak of my volleyball season … They’re all equally as talented as they are radiant and funny and smart,” Franks said. “Both on and off the court, they’ve been amazing people to have in my life. So with senior night, it was just an amazing experience because I think that all the speeches really touched them, and I think that they all came together as leaders for this game.”

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About the Contributor
Surya Patil, Sports Editor
Surya Patil joined the Oracle as a staff reporter in 2021 and became Sports Editor in 2022. She is currently on the Archer varsity tennis team and on the Athletic Leadership Council. When she is not reporting or playing tennis, you can find her watching 2000s tv shows and spending time with her friends and family.

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As part of Archer’s active and engaged community, the Editorial Board welcomes reader comments and debate and encourages community members to take ownership of their opinions by using their names when commenting. However, in order to ensure a diverse range of opinions, the editorial board does allow anonymous comments on articles as long as the perspective cannot be obtained elsewhere, and they are respectful and relevant. We do require a valid, verified email address, which will not be displayed, but will be used to confirm your comments. Because we are a 6-12 school, the Editorial Board reserves the right to omit profanity and content that we deem inappropriate for our audience. We do not publish comments that serve primarily as an advertisement or to promote a specific product. Comments are moderated and may be edited in accordance with the Oracle’s profanity policy, but the Editorial Board will not change the intent or message of comments. They will appear once approved.
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    Anaiya AsomughaOct 2, 2023 at 7:49 pm