Bringing the ‘best game energy’: JV Volleyball celebrates new skills, strengthen team dynamic

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Photo credit: Kim Smith

Serenity Jones (’26) preparing to serve to begin the next set during their game against Buckley Sept. 24. The JV varsity volleyball team’s overall record so far this season is 7-6.

By Maia Alvarez, Multimedia Editor

Freshman Julia Ong said stepping onto to volleyball court with the JV team’s “best game energy” is the only way to start a game.

The team took second place at the Karri Kirsch classic, making it to the tournament’s silver division. The team’s overall season record is 7-6 and their league record is 4-2. Freshman Caroline Collins said, throughout the season, the team balances fun while simultaneously taking control of their own progress as athletes.

“There’s a few newer students or students I am not as close with, so, it’s hard to not only connect with them on a social level but be thrown into a game situation and play adequately with them,” Ong said. “Are you getting the ball? Am I getting the ball? What’s going on?”

The season began in early August, and the team is made up of freshmen and sophomores who gathered each morning during the summer to relearn skills and prepare for the early games during the school season. During the school season, the athletes travel each day after school to Park Century School to practice from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m..

The majority of the team has either played at least a season in middle school or played volleyball outside of school. Whether new to volleyball or not, Ong said the team members agree, in their team group discussion meetings, to focus on communication within the team. On the individual level, the athletes have personal goals they wish to accomplish throughout the course of the season.

“It’s about mindset, and you have to think really quickly,” Collins said. “So my goals center around staying focused and calm and knowing that I can do what I set my mind to during the game, even in a stressful situation.”

I find it a space to hang out with friends but also be active as a fun aspect of my day…It was a no-brainer for me.”

— Freshman Julia Ong

In volleyball, six players are on a court at a time, including four hitters who rotate between one another and try to score points by making the ball hit the floor on the other side of the net. In the other two positions, there is a setter who brings the ball into play and a libero who keeps the ball off the floor. Whether the player is a setter, a libero or a hitter, JV coach Trevor Briggs focuses on balancing practicing the specific aspects of their roles and teamwork through passing drills and engaging exercises.

“He’s actually taught me a lot because I played volleyball before, but there are a lot of things that I didn’t know,” freshman Serenity Jones said. “He’s teaching me rotations, the technical, correct way to how to serve [and] stuff like that.”

As teamwork is vital in volleyball, the team practices playing with the members of their team and the varsity team. During the summer and school season, the JV team participated in the first 30 minutes of practice with the varsity volleyball team, sparking the connection between both teams. Throughout the season, both teams spend great amounts of time with one another due to traveling to the same gym for practices and playing games after one another against the same school.

“There’s definitely a crossover. They support us at our games, [and] we support them at their games against other schools,” Ryan said. “We’ll do drills together, sometimes we’ll play against each other, and it’s really fun to work with different people.” 

On Sept. 24, the team played against Archer’s rival school, The Buckley School, where they lost 2-1. Even so, Collins said the game demonstrated the team’s growth in their communication and effort as they continued to keep the ball in play, making plays that Buckley didn’t expect.

“Around eight or 10 times, [the ball] went back and forth, which is a lot because normally it’s only like four,” Collins said. “Even if the ball was like shanked or flew out a little bit — not where it’s supposed to go — we got that back and centered it back to the other team.”

The JV Volleyball team participated in the Karri Kirsch JV Classic Tournament, where they competed with the seven schools in their league.  The tournament began Oct. 8 against Providence 1, Bishop Conaty High School and Holy Martyrs High School, and the team competed in the Oct. 15 playoffs. Collins said, as the team dynamic continues to grow stronger, their excitement to do well in the coming games grows.

“We’re focused on achieving our own goals and also helping each other get to those goals,” Collins said. “Combining that all together, it really creates a good team because we’re all striving for something individually, but everything pieced together really makes it easier to get to that.”