Freshman girls set up for a strong end to the volleyball season


Freshman girls volleyball team in a huddle during their Sept. 14 game against Hemfield

Paige Tokay, writer

Nearing the end of their season, the Freshman Girls Volleyball team has improved each and every day.

As of Sept. 28, the Freshmen Girls Volleyball team has a record of 8-3 and two games left in the season. The team continues to push themselves to be the best, dedicating themselves to the fullest both in and out of games. Through practices alone, it was clear that, though the team only has one more week left in their season, they have not stopped working hard to better their gameplay.

“Our practices are going really well,” said Coach Susan Miholav. “The team transitions between offense and defense efficiently and they are really hustling to protect our side of the court.  Unfortunately, this does not always move into our matches.  We need to continue to work as hard in a game as we do in practice.”

Despite any imperfections, the improvements made within the team have been easy to see. Many of the players on the freshman team are beginning to recognize the new strength in their plays, despite the struggles along the way.

“I think the season has been great so far, improving our skills everyday,” said defensive player, Ava Passereli. “We have our ups and downs in every game but overall I am very happy with the way our team is coming together over the course of the season.”

In a transition year from middle school to high school volleyball, skill improvements and development are the keys to a freshmen feeder volleyball program. With a new workload, new skill level, and new expectation, the Freshman Girls Volleyball team has taken on a challenge they have never experienced before.

I always thought that the middle school practices felt less important. Now, at the high school, I have more of a drive to improve.

— Outside hitter, Sophia Tokay

“The biggest difference I see now playing high school volleyball is the pace of the game,” said Passereli. “It is much faster and you always have to be on your feet. The athletes this year are far more experienced than last year in middle school and hit the ball much harder.”

All around player, Ava Christopher, goes for a spike during Norwin’s Sept. 23 game against Armstrong

Arguably, a factor more important than the vast skill improvements the freshman volleyball team has made are their treatment towards their fellow teammates. The positive team environment displayed in each game and practice became obvious from the second they entered the court.

“I have coached freshmen for around 20 years and each team has a different dynamic,” said Miholav. “These girls seem to genuinely support one another in the gym.”

At their latest game against Armstrong on Sept. 23, the uplifting energy was palpable. With every spike all around player, Ava Christopher sent flying over the net, every block by middle hitter, Julia Choby, every powerful serve from defensive player, Gianna Lajevic, there was a clear support for one another.

Even on their weak points, when a serve didn’t quite make it over the net, or a block was missed, the team continued to cheer each other on. With an atmosphere like that, it was no wonder the team won the match 3-0.

“The volleyball team works together by giving each other energy and reassuring one another if they make a mistake,” said Gianna Lajevic. “We always cheer on the bench when someone is serving, gets a good up, or a kill. If someone misses a serve, hits into the net, or hits out, we always reassure them to make sure they don’t overthink their mistakes.”