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Girls volleyball; serving up a great season

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The girls varsity volleyball team poses for a team photo after the pep rally.

The girls varsity volleyball team poses for a team photo after the pep rally.

Vasara Kulbis and Nicole LaBelle

Vasara Kulbis and Nicole LaBelle

The girls varsity volleyball team poses for a team photo after the pep rally.

Lauren Lambros, Staff Reporter

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Ace after ace, dig after dig, and point after point, the 2015 Riverside Brookfield Varsity Girls volleyball team’s victorious season has come to an end. Despite a tough loss to Whitney Young in the Regional playoffs, the team has grown into a competitive and loving family.

From the very beginning of the season there was no doubt that the team chemistry was great. Leading the team to be able to trust one and another, especially when it came down to running their offensive sets.

Not only did the good chemistry spark up the team’s level of play but it also helped them develop better instincts as to who would get what ball and where everyone was on the court.

“Right from the start, there wasn’t any problems with playing together, and encouraging each other,” said senior middle hitter Nicole LaBelle.  

As well as playing dynamically on the court together, the team’s main goal this season was to win conference and to continue to do well in the playoffs. The team took home the conference title with a final record of fourteen wins and three losses.

Throughout the season the girls have won many games just on their hustle and hard work alone. Since the first day of practice the heart and dedication has always been there. As the season went on, the team has improved on making better passes and stronger hits.

“We’ve had a lot of individuals that have improved and helped step up the level of intensity,” said head varsity coach Dan Bonarigo.

Along with improvements on the court, the team’s mentality has been very positive throughout the season. Their drive to win is impeccable, and it really shows how hard work and determination can change a team.  

Since the beginning, the team has had a positive outlook on the season. Even after playing poorly, they always kept their heads up and were ready for the next play.

“Anytime we’ve had a bad game we generally rebounded pretty quickly,” said Bonarigo. Which in volleyball, is a crucial skill to have.

After hours of practicing, bonding and playing together the team’s level of play improved. They were always on the ground diving for balls frustrating many of their opponents, but for them it was just their style of play. It was what separated them from the rest.

“Hard work really set us apart,” said sophomore middle hitter Vasara Kulbis, “because the other teams were good but they didn’t pick everything up, and since we frustrated them we kept extending the rallies.”

With the girls wanting to win so badly it drove them into expecting to win. High expectations are not necessarily a bad thing, however sometimes it made the girls become inconsistent.

One of the team’s challenges throughout the season was the uncertainty of the outcome. Though they went into every game feeling confident and expecting to win, sometimes that expectation would slightly affect their performance.

“We’ve had a lot of times where we would play fantastic for a game and then let it slip a little bit in the next game,” said Bonarigo. “it’s hard to maintain that highest level of consistency.”

Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end. The end of the season was bittersweet for everyone, but really had a large effect on LaBelle.

She states that volleyball had been a huge part in her involvement at RB, but most importantly it has helped her grow up. From being a sophomore on varsity she was intimidated. As time went on it taught her how to discipline herself, and it helped her mature into the athlete she is today.

“I’ll really miss our coaches because being on the team for three years we all have a really good relationship with them so it’s going to be different coming to school and not see them everyday after school for practice,” said LaBelle.

As for next year’s team, the future’s looking bright. A strong core of eight players are returning, being able to keep last year’s mentality and work ethic going into next year’s season

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Free of Bull, Full of Bulldogs
Girls volleyball; serving up a great season