Heated match finally closes with a 3-2 win
Rally after rally, American High School’s girls varsity volleyball team electrified the crowd during a home game against Newark Memorial High School on October 6th.
American began with an early lead, forcing Newark Memorial to call their two timeouts in the first set. Notably, middle blocker Marisa Morales (12) gained an unexpected point after spiking the ball on the sideline – breaking Newark Memorial’s serve streak. After easily winning the first set with a score of 25-15, the varsity girls lost their rhythm and began falling behind in the second set. Just like Newark Memorial, American used both of their timeouts to regroup after a huge loss in points. Opposite hitter Miranda Chang (12) dove for the ball multiple times, but just fell short of saving it from hitting the ground.
“American—calm it down,” Coach Ronni Lewis said.
Despite the advice, American missed many serves and could not save the ball from Newark Memorial’s spikes; they lost the second set 14 to 25. With the score now tied, opposite hitter Jazmyn Sudbrook (12) served four consecutive points before Newark Memorial could regain possession of the ball. Towards the end of the set, opposite hitter Devon Pierre (12) scored their 21st point with a one-touch over the net. American won by a six-point margin, only one set away from winning the match.
“American’s got it together tonight, but a lot can change in the next twenty minutes,” referee Mark Young said.
As Young predicted, American barely lost the fourth set (23-25). Both teams were neck and neck and had to use both their timeouts, coming up with a new strategy to pull ahead: focusing more on recovering a blocked spike than hoping it would get through. The back-and-forth exchanges and ball possessions in the fifth set kept the crowd on edge as American won with a slim two point margin (15-13).
“[The team] pulled through hard but it took time because we were inconsistent,” middle blocker Shreya Joshi (12) said. “Regardless, we can only go uphill from here.
As only one of two sophomores on the team, middle blocker Amanda Morales (10) found her position intimidating.
“I don’t think much on grade because [the team] brings me up to their level,” setter Bella Rivera (10) said.
In the end, this victory against Newark Memorial brought the team closer together and gave them ideas for improvement before their next game at Irvington on Thursday, October 8th.
“It was a good win, considering Newark [Memorial] is a good school. We came together well, though we have room for improvement by getting our technique together,” libero and defensive spiker Sierra Hilman (11) said.