October 4, 2017
Atholton’s Varsity Volleyball team is the reigning state champion for the 3A division and determined to go back-to-back.
Not only does the team have high expectations from their coach and fans, but also a legacy to fulfill. Last year’s win over Damascus at College Park’s Ritchie Coliseum was their first state championship win since their 2 consecutive titles in 1988-89. The team wants to continue the trend of back-to-back titles, and with their talent, they believe they can do it.
Coach Moy acknowleges, “That’s it. Everything’s based on that. They’re all circulating around that they want to win states again.”
The team has lived up to expectations this season, dominating the county, only losing to one other team so far this season.
Volleyball currently has a 9-1 record; with their only loss coming from the 4A school Arundel High, a powerhouse in Maryland athletics.
“I honestly thought we could have won this time, we just got in our heads a little bit and we faced some things we haven’t worked on too heavily in practice, but losing that game helped us to really see what we need to improve on, and we were able to get back into the gym and work really, really hard on Tuesday after that loss,” said Lisa Zoch, Atholton junior and co-captain of the team.
Atholton’s Varsity team has a much different atmosphere than the JV team according to new varsity players.
Junior Shaiza Mansoor noted that practices on JV had “a lot more set drills for us to teach fundamentals. Fundamentals are obviously still important but we get a lot more say in what we do at practice and do a lot more game play with practice running more complicated plays.”
While the team’s strategy and talent brought them far, what really makes the Raiders shine is their teamwork. The composition of the team may have vastly changed since last year due to graduations and injuries, but the new players fit right
in with the veterans.
“As a team we have all clicked together phenomenally and had so much fun together so far,” said Mansoor.
The cohesion between the players is evident on and off the court. Their stellar teamwork allows them to be a brute force in games, working as a unit rather than individuals. To get into this team mindset, the players get hyped by playing the song “The Weekend” by SZA, which they all know the words to.
According to senior Brooke Mason, “It really helps us, I don’t know why, but we all just love the song. The funny thing is, the only game that we didn’t listen to it, we lost, so now it’s a tradition that we have to listen to it before games.”
Co-captain Kelly Simons, a senior, knows that the music alone will not get the team to States. She said, “We are working hard everyday at practice and pushing each other. We
aren’t being over confident about our abilities just because we won last year.” Zoch added, “We definitely want to get to theRitchie Coliseum again this year.”