With a growing group of over 45 girls and four coaches, the girls volleyball team is just getting stronger. The girls started practicing at the end of August, adding on many new freshmen, two of who made the varsity team.
“This season we brought on a lot of new, younger kids and we graduated a couple of seniors so it was definitely a transition working with some of the younger kids who we hadn’t been playing with for as long and losing some of the girls we had been playing with for our entire high school career,” said Sarah Goldberg, senior.
With a record of 10-4, the team built up quite quickly. “It took us a while to get back up to where we were last year, when some of the girls had been playing together since we were all in middle school…but at this point we are pretty equal with where we were last year,” Goldberg said.
The team lost the conference championship to Greendale on October 17 for an overall 2nd place in the Woodland conference, moving up two places from last year. According to LaVar Ridgeway, athletic director, every year the team recovers well from losing star seniors and keeps up their secure reputation.
“Overall the girls volleyball program has been consistently strong with [Coach Ryan’s] lead,” Ridgeway said. “We have also been fortunate to have good talent on the JV and freshman level, this year having younger players step up to the varsity level.”
Goldberg said Olivia Kessenich and Olivia Riley, freshmen starting on the varsity team, have been brought in by the varsity team and are doing their part to help the team find success.
“It’s definitely a pretty big thing to make varsity as a freshman, especially now as the volleyball program is getting overall more competitive, but we are definitely excited to have them. They bring a whole fresh perspective to the team. I think they’re happy to be there; they’re just goofy and fun and great to have, all of the underclassman always are,” Goldberg said.
Rita Yasrob-doust, sophomore, said the positive team environment has contributed to the team’s success.
“The people involved and my teammates are definitely the best part, they make everything really fun,” Yasrob-doust said. “They’re encouraging, supportive and funky. We all help each other to get better, and with the new coaches, JV and freshman girls have improved so much.” Ridgeway agreed.
“The togetherness of the team is strong. You can really see over the course of the year all the girls coming together and enjoying themselves, being a family,” Ridgeway said. “This really showed at senior night when the younger players spoke about the seniors and lots of emotion came out, showing the effect the seniors had on them…hopefully they can keep this tradition going.”
Goldberg said she hopes the program continues to improve after she graduates. “Shorewood volleyball is a great program to be a part of,” Goldberg said. “I came in as a freshman and we hadn’t won many games, and now as the senior class is leaving, we are definitely leaving the program in good hands, better than when we came in.”
(by Olivia Poole)