After defeating Hillsdale on Nov. 1, the Aragon girls volleyball team faced off against Cupertino on Nov. 7 at CCS. Ultimately, the Lady Dons were unable to prevail and lost three of the four matches.
Senior Chanel Joyce notes, “Our energy was down…As a team, we were all there together. We just couldn’t play to our potential.”
Junior Kelly Chang adds, “The first game we beat them by a lot [25-13]. But the next three we lost…There wasn’t as huge of a drive as the first match we won.”
Dons vs. Knights
Aragon concluded their regular season with a victory against Hillsdale, finishing with a 6-8 record. Though the losses can be credited to losing many dominant senior players and thus struggling to maintain normalcy, the girls’ varsity volleyball team finished fourth in the Peninsula Athletic League Bay Division.
Aragon lost its first set 20-25 but won the next two with scores of 25-17 and 25-19, respectively. The fourth set enabled the Dons to clinch the match by a narrow margin of 31-29. Battling fierce competition, Aragon led by a single point with Hillsdale tying on multiple occasions. Though the first team to receive 25 points wins, a team must also win by a margin of at least 2 points.
Sophomore varsity member Gilliana Lau says, “It was crazy; it felt so good to win though. We would have to lead and then we’d lose the point, it was like a roller coaster ride.”
Senior Elizabeth McSheery notes, “[I was] nervous, for sure, very anxious. You don’t know how to feel — the heart-wrenching terror you’re going to lose, the excitement when you get a point. You want to win so badly, it’s a fluctuation of emotions.”
Freshman Anna Joshi adds, “My heart was beating so much. It was so scary, but we all had to be confident in our skills, and I think winning that game really showed that we could all play to the best of our abilities”
A season in retrospect
Although the varsity volleyball team had more losses than wins this season, they do not have any regrets.
“I wouldn’t change a single thing. I love my team, it was so much fun,” notes Lau.
Adds McSheery, “I’d like to think that we did our best, as a whole and as myself. I don’t know if there’s any more that I could have given…I’d like to believe that I play hard regardless of the opponent. The teams are so even, and there’s no real standout team. You have to constantly be on your game.”
As stated by head coach Annette Gennaro, the team’s consistency was a critical factor to the team’s success. “When they’re in sync and they’re all consistent, they perform exceptionally well,” reflects Gennaro. “Because a lot of them are new to either their positions or the team, the consistency is a huge factor. They’re working on consistency in all areas of their skill work. I graduated a lot of seniors, and now the players are realizing what their role is on the team, and I’m working on making sure every kid is successful in their role.”
She adds, “The team is close on and off the court.” The team’s motto is “Dons = Ohana,” stylized like an acrostic poem with the ‘O’ connecting ‘Dons’ and ‘Ohana.’
Indeed, the team is literally a family: Anjali and Anna Joshi, respectively senior and freshman, are sisters. On being teammates with a sister, Anna notes, “It’s actually really fun. I thought it’d be stressful, but whenever I play she’s right there cheering me on.” Both sisters made the varsity team in their freshman year.
As Gennaro notes, one of the coach’s goals was “to win the games that we’re supposed to and get into CCS.” Nevertheless, she was supportive even when they lost.
Says McSheery, “Our biggest goal was that we play strong. I think we were relatively successful, and we played our best regardless of the circumstances.”
Lau criticized her performance this season. “I know for sure I need to be able to jump higher,” she says.
Though she won’t be around, McSheery has advice for new players next year: “Keep fighting, never give up even when it seems like there’s no chance to win. Stay positive!”