AWHS vs. Branson girls volleyball series ends in JV victory, varsity loss

A two-game series against Branson High School on Wednesday, Oct. 6 ended with a tough loss from AWHS girls varsity volleyball and a solid win from jJunior varsity girls volleyball.

The AWHS varsity game ended with a 3-0 set shutout. The final scores for the three sets were 25-18 Branson, 25-11 Branson, and 25-15 Branson. The AWHS junior varsity girls won in the minimum sets needed, 2-0, allowing them to win with scores of 25-18 and 25-20.

The home loss for varsity ended their 16 game winning streak, which started at the end of August. An unfortunate amount of passing errors led to the loss, along with poor serving and several missed blocks. Branson has been AWHS’ most formidable opponent so far, knocking their MCAL record to 4-1.

“Blocking, we missed a lot of blocks, I think we could have done better at passing, and serving we were a little off. They were easily the toughest team we have played and coming off a 16 game win streak we didn’t take into account the other team’s capabilities,” said AWHS varsity coach Lisa Hudson. 

They started off in a close match in the first set going back and forth with their rallies. Then Branson went on a run that put AWHS at a major disadvantage in the first set. After that, they didn’t look back and took advantage of AWHS’ slow play. 

“Once we were down on the scoreboard we got down on ourselves although in the third set we brought energy once quite enough to make the comeback we needed,” said AWHS sophomore varsity player Amelia Ritcher.

Amelia mentioned that the team’s mental state changed once they were down in points, which led to more mental mistakes. Amelia believes that if they are able to block all this out, that they will be successful in games to come.

The junior varsity girls started strong, winning in two sets. They started off with an early six-point lead and kept the momentum rolling into a 25-18 set win against Branson’s junior varsity team. The AWHS girls took care of the rest with a second and final set score of 25-20.

“We did a great job at having a balance between being energetic and not getting ahead of ourselves. We were able to keep that energy on and off the court on the bench. We also were able to slow down the plays on the court and stay composed so we didn’t have too many mental mistakes,” said AWHS sophomore libero Lydia Rivera

Lydia believes a strong mental game is necessary in volleyball, as a few poorly played rallies could determine the outcome of an entire game. In this case, a balance between competitiveness and composure resulted in the JV girls winning to improve their MCAL record of 3-2.

“A lot of our success will come from these girls learning their positions and being more comfortable knowing their job. We need to be more like varsity in that respect, we need to learn our specialized positions and roles to play better as a team,” said junior varsity coach Greg Jones.

In order for more successes, like an MCAL championship, Jones believes the girls need to play more as a team. He says that learning one’s role and skill set is especially important in team sports. Looking forward,

AWHS volleyball teams will play at home against Novato  in hopes of improving their current league records (5-1 for varsity and 4-2 for junior varsity).