Varsity volleyball team starts season with goals, ends season with CIF playoffs

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Photo credit: Tanya Memoli

Sophomore Tavi Memoli jumps in preparation to hit the ball during a league game. The game took place at Park Century School Sept. 22 against Rose and Alex Pilibos Armenian School. The varsity volleyball team won the game 3-0.

By Allie Yang, Senior Reporter

From 4 to 6 p.m. five days a week during the fall, 11 Archer upper schoolers rode a bus to Actyve Volleyball, a volleyball club which served as the varsity team’s training facility. This season, the team was undefeated in their league, losing one game to The Buckley School Sept. 30. They made it to the second round of CIF playoffs, finishing the season with 21 games.

Sophomore Tavi Memoli has been playing volleyball for two years, and, for both years, she has been a member of Archer’s varsity team. Before volleyball, she tried a variety of other sports such as basketball and gymnastics.

“Let’s say I have [volleyball] practice tomorrow night. I’m not like ‘I can’t. I’m so tired. I don’t even want to do this,’ even if I got seven hours of sleep the night before and had a tough day at school” Memoli said. “I look forward to going practice because it’s the highlight of my day. That’s not how it’s played out in other sports I’ve done in the past.”

Senior Maya Bajaj has been playing volleyball for eight years. This year, she was a co-captain along with her twin, Uma Bajaj, and fellow senior Dani Fenster. With this season being her last, she said she hoped to have a meaningful and successful conclusion to her time participating in Archer volleyball.

“I’m sad that it’s my last year for sure,” Bajaj said. “But I want this year to be the most memorable. I want our team to do the best we’ve done…I’m just hoping to leave a mark on Archer’s volleyball court and play the best I can.”

In addition to three co-captains, the team was also led by Head Coach Charlie Schmittdiel and Assistant Coach Lauren Shook. The team began its preseason on Aug. 1 and ended its season on Oct. 22. The team’s first league game was against St. Monica Catholic High School. The last game was against Sunny Hills High School in which they lost 3-0. Memoli said she believes that the team’s success has been a result of consistent practice and a strong bond.

“Majority of the girls on our team play club,” Memoli said. “You can tell how much as a team we’ve improved because of having all that time at club and being able to grow as players. Also, the connection of the team is even better than it was last year because we know each other better. I’m way more comfortable with them now because of how much I’ve gotten to spend time with and play with them.”

Memoli also said she hoped team members would change their reactions to adversity so that they better align with a growth mindset.

“For our team, a big thing to improve on is [being] mentally prepared for each game,” Memoli said. “If we lose a couple points, don’t get super down and figure out how to handle those situations when you’re feeling pressure…Mistakes are just a way of learning and a way of getting better.”

The team concluded the season with consistent wins, and Bajaj believed in the team’s potential from the start.

“We are going to be such a strong group,” Bajaj said. “We’re going to have so much trust…I think we can make it really far.”