Varsity volleyball team wraps up season, looks to next year

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Photo credit: Mikael Salomon

An El Capitan High School player spikes the ball. The Archer varsity volleyball team made it to the final round of CIF-SS Division 6 playoffs this year and the first round of state playoffs without any seniors on the team.

The Archer varsity volleyball team came prepared to games with their shin guards, jerseys and a desire to win. However, something was missing: there were no seniors on the team.

Because of this, the team relied on the two junior captains, Amelia Nathanson and Cydney Johnson, and head coach Lainey Gera to lead them to victory. The team won the Liberty League championship with an undefeated record and made their way to the CIF finals again this year.

Last season, Archer varsity volleyball had their first CIF-SS win in Division 7, causing them to move up to Division 6 this year. One of Nathanson’s goals for this season was a “CIF victory”; however, Grace Brethren school took the title from the Archer team on Nov. 3 at Santa Monica College.

“We worked really hard and fought,” sophomore player Bella Morgan said, “but they outplayed us at some points during the game.”

The Panthers had a significant crowd turnout, with over 200 people in the bleachers. Purple posters displaying ‘go Archer’ and chants filled the gym. Every spike, hit and return, Archer supporters cheered as their signs were waved in the air. Nathanson reflected on the positives of the season in spite of the “disappointing” loss. 

“I think we had a really successful season, considering the majority of our team was new to varsity this year,” Johnson said. “Although we didn’t win CIF as we did last year, I think we came a long way since the beginning of the season.”

“Even though we didn’t win CIF this year, I’m really proud of how far the team came and I can’t wait to come back stronger then ever next year,” Johnson said. “I know we won’t stop fighting until we bring another banner to Archer.”

Their season continued on Nov. 6, when they headed to the 2018 CIF State Championships. Archer played El Capitan High School at the El Capitan gymnasium at 7:00 p.m. The team lost the game 1-3, but Nathanson and Johnson said they are ‘excited’ for next year.

“I am so proud that with such a young team we made it to state, but next year we will be ready to go even further,” Johnson said. “Because we had no seniors on the team this year, I am excited to go into next season with the same team. It’s so cool that the same team has another chance to achieve what we did not this year.”

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  • Junior Cydney Johnson sets the ball over the net. Johnson is a co-captain with fellow junior Amelia Nathanson.

    Photo credit: Mikael Salomon

  • Junior Alizeh Jarrahy and sophomore Ava Salomon block a hit from a Grace Brethren player.

    Photo credit: Mikael Salomon

  • Sophomore Ava Salomon and junior Cydney Johnson block a hit from a Grace Brethren player. The team had an overall winning season as they were undefeated in the Liberty League.

    Photo credit: Mikael Salomon

  • The varsity team huddles as Head Coach Gera discusses plays. The season ended due to their loss in round one of state playoffs.

    Photo credit: Mikael Salomon

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