Volleyball powers through the rest of the season

Kaylee Bushell

It was all smiles and celebrations among the girls’ varsity volleyball team. It seemed as if nothing was in the way of the Giants’ perfect record—not even Branson, who they defeated for the first time in two years.

With just a few weeks until MCAL playoffs, they are now trying to recover from losing one of their key starters.

Just after the Giants’ game against Branson, junior Claire Jackson sprained her ankle at a tournament, benching her for the rest of the season.

Jackson was one of the team’s “twin towers,” along with junior McKenzie Cooke. According to senior captain Lily Barber, the two were a major factor in the team’s success.

“They both are aggressive outside hitters with really big arms on the court. Together they were the twin towers,” Barber said.

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While it was a devastating loss, the team will utilize its depth to make up for it. According to Barber, the team will quickly be able to adjust to the loss of Jackson heading into the remaining weeks of the season play.

Sophomore Niquee D’Ancona has stepped up to fill Jackson’s place as an outside hitter, keeping the team together before the next big game.

“Claire was such a strong player overall and I am trying hard to fill in. It has been a big step up so far,” D’Ancona said.

D’Ancona also said the team has been very encouraging and supportive, telling her what to work on and what she has been doing well.

Currently, the team is undefeated with a 10-0 record in MCALs and a 25-4 record overall. The team hopes to maintain its winning streak so they can finish first in MCALs for the first time in a while.

“It was definitely a really devastating experience for all of the girls when Claire got injured, but we’ve all seemed to bounce back, filling the hole,” Barber said.

According to Barber, D’Ancona is a strong hitter with a lot of potential.

“She’s younger, but can pick up to the speed of play, getting more aggressive like Claire in a short period of time. She has done a good job stepping up to the plate,” Barber said.

According to Barber, D’Ancona’s skills are already at a high level despite being a sophomore.

“She has really good ball control and a strong arm, which is what we needed,” Barber said.

The team’s last big game, against Marin Catholic, ended in a victory for Redwood, finishing in three quick sets.

“We already saw our Freshman and JV teams lose, so it was our turn to take home the win. We just went out there like any other game and we beat them before, so we knew we could do it,” D’Ancona said.

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According to Barber, Redwood already had a leg up heading into the game because Marin Catholic’s libero injured her knee in the game before.

 

Senior captain Marguerite Spaethling also believes they will come out strong and is extremely confident in their future success.

As for the next two to three weeks before MCAL play unfolds, Spaethling believes the team is looking to focus more of their energy on the bigger, more competitive games.

“We have to keep going strong and not let up,” Spaethling said. “We know we have the potential.”

Both Barber and Spaethling have high expectations for the team and hope they can repeat their NCS run last year as well as take the MCAL pennant.

“We know we can do it. We just have to work hard every day which is what we have been doing,” Spaethling said.

According to both captains, everyone will be putting in more effort and cleaning up their play, tweaking the little things. Spaethling also is looking to enforce her leadership

on the court.

“As a captain I try and be a role model player, that clutch player that will step up whenever the time comes. I need to be a force out on the court,” Spaethling said.

Right now, as the team is still recovering from the loss of Jackson, Spaethling says the best thing for the team at this point in time is for everyone to stay focused.

“We need to try and not lose a set with the less competitive teams. It is all going to come down to the end results,” Spaethling said.  

With both strong upperclassmen and underclassmen, the team hopes they will finish out the season well.