Volleyball sets into playoffs


The Lady T-wolves huddle together during a timeout. The girls faced Georgetown on Sep. 25, however suffered a loss.

Anjali Sundaram, Reporter

The court is silent as the girls crouch soundlessly on their side of the court. Arms out and legs moving in place, they were ready for the ball. The thud of the ball could be heard across the court as the other team’s player got ready to serve the ball. Bam! The ball was in the air. Bump, set, spike! Cheers rang throughout the court. The Lady T-wolves won again.

On Oct. 27, the Lady T-wolves won all three matches against Georgetown East View, taking third place in district. However, according to head coach Chad Jones, third is not enough.

“We definitely underachieved this season,” Jones said. “None of us are happy with our lack of consistency during district play or our third place finish.  It gives us extra motivation to play ever better during the play-offs and show everyone the team we really are.  It won’t be easy, but we are determined to step it up.”

Jones wasn’t the only person who felt that way. Sophomore outside hitter, Alexis Cheatum, also expresses her feeling towards winning third.

“I feel “okay” [about winning third], I know for fact that my teammates and I aren’t satisfied with anything other than first and will continue to work hard until we’re District Champs,” Cheatum said.

Nonetheless, the girls secured a position in this year’s playoffs. The girls made it to playoffs last year, but lost in the third round to Alamo Heights. Junior outside hitter Vanessa Vozza explains the worst part about the loss.

“The worst part about losing was that they had a huge student section and we didn’t have anyone there or we could’ve played a lot better than we did,” Vozza said.

This year, the Lady T-wolves are preparing mentally by watching videos of opponents and physically by having an intense training schedule, according to senior libero and captain, Taylor Spisak. She divulges into the worst and best part about training.

“The worst part about training is doing Shaw Shank [a training exercise done to strengthen players agility but running and diving for balls],” Spisak said. “But the best part about it is being able to go through the pain with your teammates, having them motivate you and knowing that in the end it all pays off.”

Training isn’t the only difficulty Spisak is overcoming, she also talks about what it means to be a senior and the responsibility that it entails.

“I am a competitive person and as an athlete sometimes hard on myself,” Spisak said. “As a senior and playing the Libero position, I have a lot of responsibility on the court. I am the leader of the back row and feel that it is my responsibility to set the standards and positive attitude.”

The top four teams from every District are tossed together into a pool of 128 teams from across the State. One must win seven games in a row, making playoffs challenging and grueling because if the girls lose a single game they are out, according to Coach Jones, who proclaims that “anything less leaves you heartbroken and hungry for another chance.”

Nevertheless, each girl has high aspirations from the season, especially sophomore Cheatum, who wasn’t surprised about making it to playoffs and shared her view on the upcoming weeks.

“Well, we knew all along this year that we would most likely make playoffs, so I wasn’t surprised at all,” Cheatum said. “My predictions for play-offs are very optimistic, I truly believe that we will go tremendously far this year.”

While Cheatum believes in going far this year, she still has items on her list that she feels the team needs to work on.

“During playoffs I would like to see us fight hard and truly play as one unit,” Cheatum said. “I would love to improve on keeping a high intensity level every single match no matter who we play.”

The need for a high intensity level is key for the girls to win according to teammates and Jones, who shares the view as a coach on what the girls need to work on.

“[We need to work on] playing with more energy and consistency,” Jones said.  “At times we lose energy and focus and our level of play suffers as a result.  When we play with a high level of energy, we have the talent to beat anyone.”

According to Jones, the team will be changing plays in order to keep things different. The difference between regular season and playoff games is that there are no re-dos, if the girls lose, they are done. Junior Middle Blocker, Alana Geymer, is confident in the team’s offensive ability.

“We have a strong offense and a great setter [junior Lindsey Ledyard],” Geymer said. “Our offense is strong because we have effective hitters. We can score many points from our offense.”

With all of this, Jones expects a lot out of his team, and knows that they have the ability to make it to the top.

“We [the coaches] expect to see them give it everything they’ve got every moment we are together,” Jones said.  “From practice to match, we are all in.  This is the last time this team will ever have the opportunity to play together, so we want to make it as special as we can by giving everything we’ve got.”

Despite the intensity of coaching, Jones conveys his passion and love for the game and the team.

“There are so many great things about coaching volleyball,” Jones said.  “It is a high energy game with momentum swings that keep you on edge the entire time.  The first day of try-outs in August is an indescribable experience that energizes you to put in 14 hour days.  Being able to represent your school and community is another great part and there is no substitute for the feeling you get on game days and the rush you feel after a win.  However, the best part is the relationships that we build as a team that will last a lifetime.”

Jones isn’t the only one that feels the strong bond between the girls; Geymer also enjoys the family tie that the team presents.

“The best part about playoffs is that I get to play longer with my team,” Geymer said. “Every time we win, we are one step closer to playing in the state tournament and that’s exciting.”

The girls will have their first playoff game on Nov. 3 at Hendrickson high school against Cedar Creek at 6:00. Adult tickets are $5.00 and student tickets are $3.00.  Passes accepted are District 25 5A, TGCA and THSCA.