Rebuilding with determination; volleyball players persevere for a prosperous season

Despite losing six seniors last year and two this year, the Redwood varsity boys’ volleyball team made it to the 2018 Marin County Athletic League (MCAL) semifinals.  After a physically and mentally straining match against Drake High School, they were eliminated, causing their season to end earlier than expected.

Seniors Jacob Zimmerman and Jason Silberman ended the season short due to prioritizing school work and a severe sickness, respectively. Having played at Redwood for the past three consecutive years, they held leadership positions before leaving.

Jacob Zimmerman high-fiving a teammate.

Jacob Zimmerman high-fiving a teammate.

“When we decided to leave, it definitely put the team in a tricky spot, considering we were the two senior captains with some of the most experience on the team,” Silberman said.

These mid-season changes required younger players to step up and provide something new to the team. Whether it was putting points on the scoreboard or boosting the team’s morale, both new and returning players were essential in the constant fight to rebuild throughout the season.

“Really no one had the experience that Jacob and I had, so I think for the [less-experienced players], they definitely had to learn how to play in really tight situations and adapt to leading themselves,” Silberman said.

Junior Mitchell Zucker, an outside starter and key contributor to the team, has had to cope with the various changes on the team and take on a leadership role to help guide incoming players. With two years of varsity experience, Zucker has been through multiple championship games and claims to have a strong understanding of the team’s dynamic.

“After two consecutive years of playing with the seniors, for me the team chemistry completely changed,” Zucker said.

Mitchell Zucker spiking the ball.

Mitchell Zucker spiking the ball.

Although there have been some losses in the roster, Zucker explained that the group was determined to keep up the team spirit and continue pursuing their goal of winning MCALs and possibly moving on to NCS.

“With a seven-man rotation in volleyball, there are many different things that you have to focus on with each individual to create a well functioning team,” Zucker said.

Within the handful of underclassmen on the team there have been multiple contributors willing to work and prove their individualistic talents. Sophomore Tanner Rich is dedicated to bring the most he can to the team and plans on returning next year to contribute even more. He also became a team captain.  

“I think in some ways it provided a better opportunity for some of the younger players to get more play time on the court, that otherwise it [the season] wouldn’t have allowed for,” Silberman said.

There was an unusually large freshman class trying out this season, so the next few years should have plenty of players, according to Rich. With a strong set of determined players like Zucker and Rich, the boys’ volleyball team seems to be in good hands. Even though there have been some roadbumps, the players have shown perseverance.

“Despite the changes we’ve had this season, I think it has shown many of the players that we can get through the rough patches. That being said, we’re ready to come out on top next year,” Zucker said.

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