Purple and gold posters and balloons decked one side of the gym, while the bleachers on the opposite side were packed with excited parents, siblings, friends and even pets. Oct. 26 marked the last home game of the season against Homestead HS, and the MVHS girls volleyball team was ready for a memorable night.
Before the game began, the seniors from MVHS and HHS ran across the court and exchanged roses with one another. Seniors took photos with their families, listened to heart-warming speeches from underclassmen, and some even shed tears. The night started off emotional and unforgettable for the seniors, and the game turned out to be even more so.
(From left to right) Senior Alia Johnson, senior Kelly Chen, senior Hannah Kotesova, senior Mahima Shanware, and senior Neha Jagathesan, received their senior appreciation flowers, gifts, and speeches from teammates. Photo by Aditi Gnanasekar.
Throughout the game, the team’s persistence in saving almost every ball and it’s strong defense helped it win one of their most exciting games of the year, with the Matadors winning 20-18 in the fifth set.
In the first set, the team started out virtually silent while dropping balls and missing serves. As the set continued, the players started to communicate, and the score was soon tied 16-16. The team pulled ahead, with senior Alia Johnson getting a kill to win the set 25-22. Close saves from junior Tung Lin, and strong blocks from junior Phoebe Li and sophomore Anumita Alur, also helped MVHS take the first set of their senior night game.
“I thought we would lose, simply because last game we were crushed 3-0, and it was one of the worst games all season,” Alur said, “but this was a [completely]different result.”
During a close second set, with HHS and MVHS exchanging blocks, Lin, the team’s libero, dove for the ball and suffered a burn on her wrist.
“I get injured pretty often, but I just ignored it,” Lin said. “I wasn’t going to let coach bench me, so I just shook it off.”
Although MVHS lost the second set 22-25, Lin’s saves and Li’s blocks continued to be important features of the game. The players picked up their game in the third set, winning 25-22 gaining a lead.
Moving into the fourth set however, the Matadors quickly found themselves down 1-10.
Unforced errors started to pile up, but after a fierce rally comprised of senior Kelly Chen saving the ball on three separate occasions, the team started to come together and brought their deficit down to 17-25 by the end of the set.
“I think one of the main things was that it was senior night,” Lin said, “And seeing how all the seniors wanted [the victory]so badly just pushed us to do things that we did not know we could do.”
MVHS players huddled as HHS coaches call a timeout. The Matadors were up 17-16 in the 5th set. Photo by Aditi Gnanasekar.
The MVHS players gave it their all in the fifth set. With more communication and great stamina, successful saves and kills, the girls won the game, ending the set with a score of 20-18 and the game 3-2.