Volleyball Loss, But Team Spirit Win

“We’re excited for the rest of the year as the team keeps improving,” said Coach Liz. “We’re going to keep working hard.” 


Thomas Cerny

A powerful serve from the Friends side, in the JV volleyball game against Chapelgate on September 20th

A loud buzzer signaled the start of the game. A hush fell over the gym as junior Kayin Britt was handed the ball and walked to the back of the court to serve it.

Kayin hit, and the crowd watched as the ball soared over the net. It hit the ground with a satisfying thump.

Cheers erupted as Friends made its way onto the board in one hit, starting the game off with a lead. The loudest cheers came from team members, on the court and watching from the bench.

“When we have strong team spirit, we always tend to play better,” said junior Rebekah Mulugeta had said before the game. 

The Friends Junior Varsity Girls Volleyball team was back on the court against Chapelgate Christian Academy on September 20th, after playing an Invitational at Notre Dame Preparatory School on Sunday at 9 am.

While they lost on Sunday, that game prepared them for this one. Their last home game, a win against Indian Creek on September 9th, had given them confidence for this game too. 

Like Friends, Chapelgate had only played five games so far this season. Their final score in all of their games was a 0-2 loss.

During warm-ups, energy on the court was high. Friends had the court first and the team used every second to prepare their spikes and serves, as pop songs blasted from the speakers. 

“Music really brings our energy up,” said sophomore Maya Williams.

As warm-ups ended, both teams lined up to wave and wish each other good luck from opposite sides of the court. The deafening scoreboard buzzer cut through all noise on the court. 

Then the referee surveyed the room, and starting players assembled on the court. While Chapelgate quickly got into position, Friends did a full team huddle, and a loud cheer of “Go Quakes!” Coaches yelled last minute advice from the sidelines as the whistle blew, signaling the game’s start. 

After Kayin’s first point score, the game really kicked in. The teams were well-matched, and alternated being in the lead, with a small margin. 

But while the teams may have been equal in skill, the Quaker team spirit shone much brighter.

“The team has a really good attitude,” said sophomore Isabel Clark after the game.

The Friends JV volleyball game plays on their home court on September 20th , 2022. (Thomas Cerny)

Before every serve, the bench would yell out “Serve it up” and then the players name. After every play, no matter the outcome, players on the court would meet in the center to high five and share words of encouragement. Coaches also supported each player from the sidelines.

During the first set, there were multiple ties – first at 20, and then 21. Eventually, Chapelgate won the first set with a 3-point lead, of 22-25.

At halftime, both teams huddled, and coaches gave specific advice to each player. Friends players seemed even more ready after the huddle, as they yelled a loud cheer. 

Soon after the start of the second set, the Quakes call a timeout. Players rushed off the court and huddled again.

Coaches switched up the lineup  – and BAM! The buzzer sounded, and they were off.

The second set started with some new and younger players on the court, including sophomore Annabelle Boseman and freshman Eve Fehskens.

The entire team was especially supportive of the underclassmen, cheering them on after every play. 

The second set was an intense back and forth between the teams. At one point, it was down to Friends with 20 points and Chapelgate with 24. 

Then, Friends picked up, and began to score points – a credit to their teamwork, and technical skills. 

“We have good blocking, good control, serves and passes,” said Isabel.

The crowd was on edge waiting to see what would happen. Suddenly, Chapelgate scored another point, handing them the win.

The Friends team was understandably frustrated. But they quickly recovered, and congratulated the other team as well as each other. 

Afterward, the team turned their attention to their next game.

“Our tournament on Sunday prepared us, so hopefully we can win on Thursday – our first away game,” said Isabel.

Freshman Giuliana Coven added that, as a team, they plan to “work on communication.”

Coaches Elizabeth Spallitta and Nicolette Matsangos shared the same sentiment after the game.

“We’re excited for the rest of the year as the team keeps improving,” Coach Liz said. “We’re going to keep working hard.” 

One thing is for sure, the Friends JV girls Volleyball team is home to a strong group of individual players who are even stronger as a team.