Photo by Yaeli Greenblum, Guest Writer
Without a coach for almost a full season, the upperclassmen of the volleyball team took on leadership roles to keep their team together. They led scrimmages to strengthen the players’ skills while also giving the team a fun, competitive edge.
The team practices outside in the front yard of the school every Tuesday and Wednesday. They have roughly 12-18 players attend practices, with a wide variety of different skill sets and ranges.
Halfway through the season, freshman Darya Dayanim joined the team. She had prior experience playing volleyball on the middle school team and already had a love for the sport.
“I was previously at basketball but after a few practices, it was too hot to play, I found,” Dayanim said. “I wanted to try something new, volleyball is super fun, it’s chill but you still get to play a very cool game.”
However, on April 27, alumnus Sophie Handloff (‘18), a former Lions’ volleyball player, was hired to coach the team. She was excited to take on the responsibility as a coach because it gives her the opportunity to see the next generation of student-athletes.
“They have pretty good skills,” Handloff said. “I think they’re still working on their communication skills but overall their skill in the sport has been pretty impressive.”
Since Handloff came on board, practices became more structured. The team would start off with passing drills, move on to serving drills and then only at the end would they finally play a scrimmage. Sophomore Josef Kay noted that having an experienced coach improves the organization of practice..
“Now that we have a coach, it’s easier to transition from thing to thing,” Kay said. “There’s not as much pushback to the new drill because there is someone older who is directing us which is making us more efficient.”
Since there were no volleyball matches scheduled this season, the team never got to put the skills they learned to the test. However, they were perfectly happy with a matchless season, as they enjoyed the fun and competitive environment in practices and didn’t feel the need for the added seriousness of any official matches.
“No one takes it too seriously and if you make a stupid mistake, which I make many of them, you just laugh it off and it’s stupid fun,” Dayanim said.
For much of the team, it was their first time playing volleyball as a co-ed sport. Kay remembered two years ago when the boys team barely had enough members to scrimmage; now with a fuller practice, it is more enjoyable.
As the season comes to an end, the volleyball players hope to use the skills they developed in future seasons, and hopefully eventually in actual matches. Still, it was a successful and productive season that many enjoyed.
“I’m going to miss this,” Dayanim said. “I like being coed and being more chill and just being outside.”