Historic Volleyball Victory: Interviews with the Team Captains

Adeleine Trompbley "18, Writer

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On October 29th, the Marin Catholic Volleyball team took on Branson in the MCAL Final at College of Marin. The MC girls became MCAL champions after defeating Branson in three close sets. The MC cheer section flooded the stage as soon as the last play was over to congratulate the team and celebrate the win.

After the game, The Roar met up with the team captains and seniors, Gina Erigero, Alison Schultz, and Grace Trocki to talk about how they helped lead the team to victory.

The Roar: How has the team grown since the beginning of the season? Did it take a long time for everyone to work together and learn each other’s compatibility?

Gina Erigero: We have a really great group of girls this year. Of course it takes time for everyone to click as a team in terms of working together, but in terms of getting along with one another there was no real problem.

Alison Schultz: We’ve always worked pretty well together, I think. We had one tough loss to Branson in our second game of the year and that was a big wake up call to focus more and listen to each other better. Since then we’ve come so far– we’ve swept Branson the last two times we’ve played them, including in the MCAL championship. But I think we all got along well in the beginning because almost everyone has played together before so it’s very familiar to be together.

Grace Trocki:The team has grown tremendously. We are a close family and have come to learn each and everyone’s personalities along with how they communicate differently on and off the court.

TR:How did the team prepare for MCALs? When did the team start practicing with the goal to make it to MCAL?

GE: At the beginning of the year, we all put our goals down in the form of a giant poster that hangs in our team room. On it we made MCALs one of main focuses for us as a team. For many of us, getting to the finals last year and falling short of our win drove us to make sure it didn’t happen again. I think our drive to win rubbed off on the girls new to the varsity team and helped push us into this final leg of our road to success.

AS: Since the beginning of the year we knew we were capable of winning the league, so we were [definitely] working towards that championship even in the first week of practice. I don’t think our practice regimen was much different during the regular season or before MCALs though. We’ve been really focused all year regardless of if we’re playing Branson or Redwood or any other team.

GT: For MCALS we have put in a lot of time and effort in preparation for it. We have gone in each week to Lawson, done lots of team bonding and rituals. Ever since the beginning of the team, we had a goal to be driven. We made a banner that had a list of each goal we wished to accomplish. Starting with MCALs our team then traveled to NCS champs and our ultimate goal was state. We ended up 3rd in NorCal in the top division for California.

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TR:What was it like to win after not winning last year? Was there any specific changes the team made this year, that didn’t happen last year?

GE: Not winning last year made the win this year all the more profound. It made it feel like our road to the MCAL Championships was a two year long process. One of the most important factors that accounted for our win is the fact that everyone has been in good health this year. I think the number of injuries last year really affected our play. We also have done a significant amount of team-bonding this year that I believe has had an impact on our play as well. Because we know each other better as individuals, we can better work together as a cohesive unit.

AS: I actually wasn’t on the team last year, but from what I’ve seen this year, losing to Redwood in such a close game last season made everyone a lot hungrier for this title, and made it feel so much better. From what I’ve heard from last year, I think the biggest change we’ve made is that we’ve all focused so much on being good teammates to each other. This team is really close, and that’s what helps us win so much. We do a lot of team bonding games or bring people cookies or treats and it’s been really nice to be part of such a friendly culture because it definitely translates to how we get along on the court. In the middle of a game, if we’re losing, being able to look at the person next to you and know that they have your back is so reassuring. We’re all really comfortable with one another. Another change is just that everyone has had another year to practice and hone their skills. A lot of our team went to Nationals last year so having a lot of our starters practicing against some of the best teams in the country definitely made them better.

GT: When we won MCALs, it was a great feeling. We knew we had it in the bag. We’ve made a lot of history this season. This year we really focused on our defense and worked hard on our serving and continuing to connect well with our setter.

TR: As Seniors, how does it feel to lead your team to win the championship?

GE: I’ve never really seen myself as a leader in these types of situations so much as a supporter. Seeing others perform at their highest level makes me extremely happy, so I push myself in order to push others. To be honest, I think the juniors on our team have really taken charge this year, especially Ry and Riley. The fact that they’re both in for the majority of the matches we play makes them the driving spirit of our team.

AS: It’s really cool. Ashley [Thomson], Anna [Olivia] and I won the championship last year on JV, but for the other seniors or the girls who have been on varsity every year, this is their first league title, and it’s really fun to share that feeling with them. This team really deserved to win it all this year and I’m so glad I’ve gotten to be a part of this.

GT: Leading the team to our victory was a great feeling, surreal kind of. Knowing that we are the oldest and have a huge influence on the team was a great feeling to have.

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