If you left early or didn’t make it to see the varsity volleyball team play at home on Friday the 21st, then you missed the match of the century! Langtree Academy was a difficult opponent, who fought hard and had three or four smoking guns that were strong, quick and smart players.
Having grown as a team so quickly, Salem Academy rose to the occasion and fought tooth and nail throughout the first match. However, something was missing and Salem Academy lost 22-25. Having recognized the strength of their opponents, Coach Vander Lugt and Coach Penn very quickly changed the Salem Academy line-up for the second game, to cater towards their opponents strengths. However, Salem Academy had not practiced the new line-up rotation and it took the team a minute to adjust. In spite of losing the second game 23-25, Salem Academy adapted to this last minute adjustment and something clicked going into the third game.
Keeping the new line-up for the third game, Salem Academy showed their strong opponents and their fans exactly what they are made of. Like a force of nature, Salem Academy demolished their opponents in the third game and won 25-13! Game four was the moment of reckoning because Langtree Academy fought even harder after losing the third game but Salem Academy had the momentum on their side and wanted the win more than their opponents. Salem Academy took the fourth game 25-22.
Then, it all came down to the fifth game tie breaker! The fifth game is still rally scoring but it only goes to 15 points, not 25. Plus, the teams switch sides half way through. The excitement and energy in the gym was like an electric storm surging through everyone’s bodies. There was enthralling cheers from the packed crowd, excitement and nerves in both teams and goosebumps on the coaches. In the end though, Salem Academy should be exceptionally proud of what they had accomplished and how much they have improved as a team because they believed in themselves and WON the fifth game 15-12!!!!
Every single player on the varsity volleyball team contributed to this magnificent win! Having worked hard in their practices, errors across the board were minimal and their serves, attacks, sets, blocks and digs were incredible!
Hannah Brothers, Dania Shoaf, Miracle Etim-Andy, Maggie Campbell, Izzy Pare and Sara Kent Trollinger delivered powerful and consistent serves throughout the five games, each with a number of aces. Attacks were stellar in the front and back row from Hannah with 10 attempts and four kills, Dania with eight attempts and four kills, Miracle with 19 attempts and six kills and Caroline Drupka with 15 attempts and three kills. Contributing to the success of kills and strong attacks was Maggie C., Tochi Okoli, Sara Kent and Maggie Dees.
Blocking was a clear strength with Miracle, Tochi, Maggie D. and Caroline dominating the net. There were more assists than you can count from Hannah, Dania, Miracle, Tochi, Maggie D. and Caroline, who all worked together as a team and occasionally formed an unintentional triple block, without any practice. Caroline was a brick wall with 15 solo blocks! Tochi stuffed five solo blocks back in her opponent’s faces and Maggie D. shut down her opponent’s hitters with two solo blocks.
The passing was a work of art. All of those practices where Coach Vander Lugt and Coach Penn would hit their hardest at defense certainly paid off. There were movements, incredible dives and unbelievable hustle that have never been tried before but they all executed each attempt with passion and determination. Hannah had 17 digs and 25 serve receive passes, Dania had 10 digs, Miracle had 10 digs and 15 serve receive passes, Maggie C. had 12 digs and three serve receive passes, Izzy had seven digs and three serve receive passes, Tochi had five digs, Sara Kent had five digs and 10 serve receive passes and Maggie D. also stepped in and contributed to the digs left and right with a dig at the net.
To recap, Salem Academy showed their coaches, fans and opponents that they are a dynamite team, who is getting better and better every time they step on the court. Start coming to the volleyball matches. The passion and excitement the varsity volleyball team displays will change your life!