Boys’ and girls’ varsity volleyball teams fight for MESAC medals

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Photographer: Marcia Carlson

The boys' and girls' varsity Dragon teams supported each other throughout the season. They cheered each other on in Filipino league play in Doha, and they traveled together to Muscat to raise each other's spirits.

Victoria C., Athletics Section Editor

In a tournament notable for its extreme parity — most teams in the girls’ and boys’ divisions were of very similar quality this year — the ASD varsity volleyball teams fought vigorously for their placement in the MESAC competition.

This year’s tournament was hosted by the American British Academy in Muscat, Oman. The Dragon boys captured bronze. and the girls ranked fourth.

They competed against five talented schools which presented a good opposition, challenging the players to play at a more sophisticated level.

The teams worked extremely hard this season for the tournament, practicing every day after school apart from Tuesdays, when they held morning practices instead.

Junior hitter S. Marquez (’21) was an aggressive, high-leaping force throughout the boys’ MESAC matches.  Photographer: David Golding

This year’s boys’ team captain was C. Daniel (‘20). Coach Kevin Sage joked about his choice: “He kept winning the tosses which was an important factor to consider.” However, the coach’s selection wasn’t random at all. “He has a good personality for it,” Sage said. “The team developed a sense of respect for him and naturally, he became captain.”

The boys’ team captured bronze. Although the team wasn’t satisfied with the outcome, the competition from others was tough and the athletes fought strenuously on court for their medals.

Starting setter Daniel (’20) compared his previous MESAC experiences and concluded that their placement was fair. “MESAC was harder this year because usually there are teams that have different abilities,” he said. “But this time they were all equal in terms of talent.” 

“It really do be like that sometimes,” teammate G. Cattan (‘20) added, in regards to the tournament. He had all his teammates nod in agreement. 

While the boys were not content with their placement, Coach Sage was pleased and proud of his team’s achievements and how they competed. He noted, “I was very impressed by the contributions by all 10 players. Cattan (‘20) played through injury and finished his high school career on the court rather than the bench. He showed a lot of guts. C. Brewer (‘20) did a lot of work and he was probably the most consistent attacker. L. Younes (‘20) and C. Rosenberger (‘20) also played through their injuries. The success of the team depended greatly on their defense. A. Kornis (‘21) is an energy guy. He did a lot of movement on the court and on one of his attacks he blasted one of the guys from Dubai. It was very entertaining to watch.”

Coach Steve Shantz elected three team captains this year having them all share equal responsibilities: J. Kersting (‘21), E. Shantz (‘21), and G. Hawkins (‘20). 

Overall, the girls came in fourth. Their resilient effort did not go unrecognized. Ms. Marcia Carlson, a parent fan of the team, noted the high level of play the girls were capable of displaying.

She said that coaches and parents from other teams regularly commented on the Dragons’ formidable quick hit and their ability to hit from the back row. “The Dragons were the only team that regularly used free ball plays,” she said, “and that worried other teams’ coaches because they knew their girls would have a lot to worry about. Kersting and Shantz were two of the best middle players, and they weren’t the only weapons the girls could go to. Setter M. Golding (’21) could really mix things up and keep other teams off-balance because of her number of options.”

Most players on the team were 11th-graders except for the tremendously talented Hawkins, the team’s most reliable defensive player, playing 6-up. “She was insane, always diving and moving around the court. giving 120%,” claimed teammate V. Camargo (‘21). “She’s always in the right position, saving us from losing any points. She’s the person that we defensive players look-up to.”

Lone senior G. Hawkins reliably passes the serve attack up for the Dragon girls.  Photographer: David Golding

Utility player I. Brown (‘21) was perhaps the team’s most versatile athlete, and despite the disappointment in not seizing the trophy, she said she was proud of the team’s position. She said, “Overall, our team was very cohesive and cooperated really well. The first day we went undefeated.” 

Both starting middle hitters were happy with their team’s efforts and perseverance. “We ran more complicated plays than anyone else,” Shantz commented.

“We tried to be smart about our passes,” Kersting added. “And I think we achieved that.”

The tournament proved to be demanding as all teams in the tournament were prepared and demonstrated high levels of competence. Brown said, “I was in Junior Varsity last year, and the level of skill didn’t even compare to what I saw at the varsity MESAC. We all had to step up our game but we played extremely well.”

The quick set from M. Golding (’21) to teammate E. Shantz (’21) proved especially effective for the girls’ varsity over the course of the season, and they used it regularly to good effect at the MESAC competition.  Photographer: David Golding

Kersting agreed, claiming “We all worked well together. There was a definite chemistry between the players.”

Again and again, girls mentioned how much fun they had preparing and then competing together. Brown summed things up when she said, “The team had a connection stronger than words can explain. Only one of us is a senior, and it will be very sad to see her leave.”

At ASD’s season-ending awards ceremony, Golding was presented with the girls’ MVP Award, while Hawkins received the Coaches’ Choice Award. In the boys’ varsity division, Daniel was the team’s MVP, and attacker C. Rosenberger (’20) was awarded Coaches’ Choice.

 

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