I’ve been on the John Jay Varsity Volleyball team all four years of my high school career. Being a player on this team is certainly not easy, as we all have many responsibilities and hold each other to high standards. We have to cut almost half of our summer out to attend pre-season. This year we had started on August 11th. The earlier we start, the more time we have to prepare for the playoffs. We were in the gym for six hours each day, but all the long hours in the hot gym during preseason pay off during the postseason. All our hard work ends up paying off.
This year, we lost only two matches in our regular season. We were undefeated until the last two weeks of our season, when one of our top players was injured, and we lost to Lakeland and Panas. Regardless, we still earned the third seed in power rankings for Class A, behind Nyack and Hen Hud. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the break down of Section 1 Volleyball, there are five classes within Section 1: AA, A, B, C, and D. Section 1 separates the schools and puts them into classes based on school size.
In order to win a volleyball game, one team must win 3 out of 5 sets. Each set is to 25 points, and when a team wins three straight sets in a row, it’s called a sweep. In our first playoff game, we swept Sleepy Hollow and advanced to the quarterfinals. For this game, we would face Yorktown, our biggest rival, in the Jay Center. Yorktown brought a loud fan section, and every time we had possession, they would loudly chant “Bump! Set! Ew!” to try and throw us off our game. It was distracting, but actually helped us, because it made us angry and fueled our fire to not only beat Yorktown but sweep them. Now, it was time to advance to the Section 1 Class A semifinals.
This would be one of the toughest matches of the year for us. We traveled about 40 minutes to Nyack for the match. The first set was a hard fought one, but the match didn’t go our way, and we lost 26-28. (A team must win by two in order to take a set.) After this first set, Nyack gained confidence and momentum while we lost it. They took the next two sets leading to the end of our season.
Rizz brought the team together after the game and told us to “keep our heads high.” He knew that Nyack played the game of their lives. There was not a serve they didn’t ace or a kill they didn’t dig. We were all disappointed, but proud of ourselves for a great regular season.
Being that this season was my last, I felt almost ready to go. I gave my heart and soul into the program as a two-year captain. At that last game against Nyack, I didn’t cry, but Rizzotti did make me tear up when he thanked my sister and me for everything. His acknowledgment of all our hard work made it real that this season would be the last time we play for the program. I knew it was my time to hang up my jersey and let the next generation take over. Although this is the end of the line for me, I know the program will continue to accomplish incredible things, and I want to thank everyone who was able to make my time on JJVB unforgettable.