The Paw Print

A season of growth

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A season of growth

Sky Barratt, Staff Writer

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This year’s volleyball team consisted of three sophomores and six freshmen. No upperclassmen. This varsity team of underclassmen struggled as they played against other varsity teams consisting almost wholly of juniors and seniors. They won a total of one match throughout the season. The defeats left the girls vulnerable, stuck in a rut of defeat. Through this, the team did have one victory: their relationships with each other grew through their loss.

“We all went to my house for a sleepover,” sophomore co-captain Rachel Rigler said. “Our coaches stopped by at 10 and brought us Wendy’s. We just sat around and talked and that was fun.”

The team also did Secret Sisters, a new volleyball tradition. They each made lists of things that they liked on slips of paper, pulled each others’ slips at random, and would leave treats in each others’ lockers based on the things on the paper.

Their relationships didn’t just grow with each other, but with God as well.

“After each practice we would each share a hope story,” Rigler said, “and talk about ways we’ve seen God in our day or week and share a Bible verse relating to what we shared to encourage each other.”

This wasn’t just special for the girls.

“Not sure if the girls know this or not,” head coach Meghan Ward said, “but this little chunk of practice always made my heart so giddy– getting to watch as they proclaimed Jesus and His kindness over their lives, watching them get excited about being His.”

The hope stories also brought the girls closer.

“It helped deepen our relationships with each other,” sophomore co-captain Camile Hardt said. “We get to know each person and what’s happening in their lives off the court.”

Ward fought to create a positive mindset for the team as they struggled through the season.

We are a team and it was that mentality that I really tried to impress upon every single thing we did this season,” Ward says. “Whether it was a drill or conditioning or sharing hope stories, I wanted my girls to rally together in believing, encouraging, and fighting for each other.”

Despite the difficulties, the team did keep it together, learning how to cope with defeat and how to look on the bright side.

“I’m glad we won at got at least a win,” Hardt says. “It was kind of discouraging but at the same time, you had to step back and realize we’re playing juniors and seniors as freshmen and sophomores.”

“Sometimes you’d be really frustrated,” freshman Kali Jenkins said, “but the coach or Rachel [Rigler] or someone would tell us to stay positive and you’d make it up with a good bump or set.”

The team learned a valuable lesson: even if things aren’t seemingly going right, you’re growing because of it.

“It’s okay that we weren’t winning,” Hardt says, “because we were growing and developing our skills every practice and game.”

Sometimes the end-of-the-season record doesn’t tell the whole story.

“Character, integrity, and fellowship was forged this season,” Ward said. “A true love of volleyball and each other was the ultimate end result.  In no way do I consider this season a “failure” of any kind.  They are an amazing group of girls who achieved far more than they will probably ever realize.

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