JV Volleyball Team defeats New Smyrna


Photo by: Allie Nichols

Allie Nichols, Layout/Design Manager

When walking into the gym for a game, one would see blue tape marking off all the seats people are not allowed to watch from and all of the parents and students wearing masks. A very different sight than what we’re used to seeing. Our opponents, the New Smyrna Barracudas, definitely took over the auditory pregame experience with their very enthusiastic ritual which included clapping and spinning around. They looked intense on the court, but the question is: will they hold up during the game? 

This was the second home game of the season, and everyone was hoping for a win. The starting line for our JV girls was numbers 11, 10, 1, 2, 8, and 5. The first set started with a serve from New Smyrna, but the Bears gained the first two points. Tiffany Brown (10), team captain, was a strong server and definitely put a little fear into the opposing team. After many good volleys, one of our players allegedly hit the ball from behind the 10-foot line which is illegal in volleyball. Coach Mallard was quick to defend her player and talk to the line judges. Long minutes passed, but in the end, they called a replay. However, we were still leading. 

Number 11, Payton Brusker, dove for every ball and received cheers from the crowds. Before we knew it, the score was 24, 18. All the Bears thought we had this in the bag, and maybe the overconfidence is why we had to go past the traditional 25 points. A timeout was called at 24, 25. The next point would decide if the first set would continue or if it would go to the Barracudas because the winning team must be at least 2 points ahead. The lady Bears turned away from the net in disappointment after one of our own hit the ball into the net, 24, 26.

After a long talk with their coaches, the WSHS JV volleyball team was ready to get back on the court. Tiffany served the ball, and the first point went to the Bears. The score was home: 3, guest: 1 after a kill from New Smyrna. Soon, we got the ball back, but the glory did not last because one of our players hit the ball out of bounds. Things were not looking great seeing as the score was 8,11 because of another mistake from one of our players. Ainsley Barnett (5) served the ball, but we got the point because New Smyrna was out of their rotation. However, when she served the ball out, the score changed to 16, 12. 

A fierce volley was going with the crowd on the edge of their seats but was abruptly stopped when the ball was hit into the net, unfortunately, by a WSHS player. We got the ball back after a mishap from New Smyrna. Number 6, Sara Gardener, jumped for joy as teammate Nicole Rosario-Rivera (14) hit a kill, giving the Bears another point. Soon the score was home: 21, guest: 16. After many amazing serves from both sides of the net and other “don’t-blink-or-you’ll-miss-it” moments, a timeout was called. The scoreboard read home: 24, guest: 20. It was almost a repeat of last quarter which would have ended the game, but after a fast-paced volley that had Coach Mallard running out of the way of the ball and the player chasing it, we won the second set 25 to 21. 

Now, it had been a while since people were attending sports games, so the buzzer was a little startling. The Bears walked on court and got ready to receive the serve. After only a few short minutes the score was 6, 0. Were the New Smyrna players getting tired? Maybe not entirely since a New Smyrna player hit a shocking kill that surprised many, but they were still 8 points behind. Parents seemed to notice the long faces and began cheering in the usual New Smyrna way: loudly. However, it did not matter because our girls were still going strong. The Winter Springs JV Volleyball team won 15, 7 with an ace from number 4, Amber Daugherty

A few players from both Freshman and JV teams and even some audience members shared their thoughts. A girl from the freshman team, Leah Riggins, said it was “hard work, communication, and perseverance” that allowed our girls to do so well. Another freshman, Mallory Acio, said “[the game] was amazing. It was so close in the 1st set and the best surprise when we came back.” 

JV player Olivia Viera Frank called the competition “aggressive” and made her “slightly anxious” which made the win even better. Sara Gardener claimed that “the energy was extremely intense during all of the saves.” Kendyl Gaffney said that energy has been a struggle in past games but the high from the practice the day before had the girls “pumped.” 

Two junior football players were especially enthusiastic about supporting our lady Bears. Luis Albarabo said that the players were great but “we need to improve on student section hype.” Ethan Alter called the game “action-packed.” He continued and said, “We could work on setting up the ball, but overall, it was a good game.”