The Pope John Lions girls’ volleyball team was ready to play with another win on their mind on September 14th when they faced off against the Blair Buccaneers. After a close 1st set, and a successful 2nd set, the Lions walked out of the Pope John gym with a 2-0 win to improve their record to 2-1.
The 1st set began with the Buccaneers coming out with energy and emotion. Coming into the game with a 1-2 record, the Buccaneers wanted to even their record up and ruin the Lions´ chance at getting a winning record, early in the season.
After a 25-22 1st set, won by the Lions, the Buccaneers needed a change of gameplan, but the 986 Lions seemed like they could do no wrong in the 2nd set. With 12 service points and 4 aces from Junior Olivia Barragan and 7 digs from Senior Hailey Clarke, the Lions took down the Buccaneers in the 2nd set by a score of 25-16. Clarke was very proud of the team’s performance and is happy to be 2-1 already this season because last season, the team ended with only 4 wins.
¨In order to get the win today, we had to keep our energy up,” said Clarke after the game. ¨We needed to focus on our ability to win to boost our confidence during the game. Already to have 2 wins after last season ended in a lot of disappointment is really good for our team morale this season. We feel good, we´re playing good, and if we keep the energy and emotion we are playing with right now, we will continue to win.”
Junior Lauren Duffy also played a great game. She finished with 8 assists and 6 service points. With the future of the team relying on the Juniors, Sophomores, and Freshmen, Duffy and Sophomore Kasey Dugan want to be able to learn as much as they can from Clarke and Seniors Lily Sieradzki, Maddison Griffin, and Meghan Sabo, especially with Dugan returning from a small injury that kept her out of the first 2 games.
¨It was my 1st game back from injury, and I know I was very excited to get back on the court, but my team was beyond excited for me to be back,” said Dugan. ¨I´ve seen the Seniors on this team become mentors to all of the younger kids on the team. For me, they always help make me feel like I´m a crucial member of the team. Any team can win if that team has leaders like that, so it means that we must be doing something right.”
Lions Head Coach Tyler Singh was very proud of the girls and commented that it felt good to be winning the games that they should be winning, so that the games that might be close hopefully will lean in the Lions favor.
¨We definitely had a slow start today, but we got our composure and regrouped,” said Coach Singh. ¨The girls were communicating well which is a big part of our gameplan in this program. I think we can and will outmatch our opponents in close games if this continues.”
With the Lions starting 2-1 on the season, the competition only gets tougher. They will have to work together and keep up their amazing play to keep the win streak alive.
Andrew Nowel, Contributing Sportswriter
Currently enrolled at Canisius University in Buffalo, New York, Andrew Nowel is an up-and-coming journalist/photographer and broadcaster. He wrote sports' articles for his high school, Pope John XXIII Regional High School. Andrew has worked with Morris Sussex Sports in sports broadcasting and analyzes professional sports in his free time. Andrew and his friend Ryan have a podcast that talks about professional sports and Canisius Athletics. Andrew also runs his own website about Canisius Athletics. He strives to inform the people about local sports and the young athletes of our communities from Buffalo to New Jersey and everywhere.
Andrew has provided previous and remarkable sports stories and photographs for the Ridge View Echo since he was 16 and enrolled at Pope John High School.