It’s Sept. 15, and the Wolverines step back onto the hardwood of Taper Gymnasium for their first home game of the season. The last time they played a game in Wolverine territory, it ended in disappointment: they got swept by league rivals Flintridge Sacred Heart, leaving them with a 2-6 record in league play.
It left a bitter taste in their mouth, but they didn’t let it shake them up coming into this year. They didn’t lose faith. They had to trust the process, their preparation and their ability.
Coming in to this year, there were no more excuses. It didn’t matter that it was just their second year in a new and improved Mission League. All they wanted to do was win and improve.
Fast forward, and the Wolverines are off to a hot start with a 3-1 record in league play, and, perhaps more importantly, a 3-0 victory against Flintridge Sacred Heart at home.
The Wolverines set the tone for this season of success much earlier, however, practicing since July 27 and participating in several tournaments early on in the season.
“The tournaments we have played have without a doubt prepared for this season,” setter Kaira Muraoka-Robinson ’16 said. “The Oxnard really showed us the potential we have together and really inspired us to just keep getting after it. The Durango tournament on the other hand showed us what we needed to work on as a team. With those two combinations in mind, we really pushed ourselves to become better all around.”
Despite their early success, the Wolverines are still hungry to win the Mission League this year after the addition of Marymount and Marlborough last year.
“We want to keep improving throughout the season and build on our individual skills and playing as a team,” team captain and libero Zoe Baxter ’16 said. “We really value not being complacent because a successful team keeps evolving throughout the season.”
The squad won its home opener against Santa Barbara in straight sets Sept. 15, signaling another step in the right direction.
But the real test would be in their first league game against Notre Dame two weeks later. It wasn’t the preseason anymore: this was the real deal. It was time to see if all the work they had put in finally paid off.
The Wolverines dominated the game, sweeping the Knights after mounting an impressive comeback in the second set, proving that they were mentally tough enough to not only hang in, but to dominate the league this year.
They faced similar adversity in their first league home match as well, but were still able to come out with a clean sweep of league rivals Marlborough.
“We were playing nervous at first, but by the end of that set, we knew that in order to win we had to play together and play for each other—not worry about who was on the other side of the net. That was our mindset going out into the second game. We played without a fear of losing.”
Now that the season is in full swing, the team has shaken off some of the nerves that may have accounted for slow starts in previous games, and they are looking to capitalize.
Last year, the Wolverines left the floor of Taper Gymnasium demoralized and defeated after losing 1-3 to Oaks Christian on Homecoming Sept. 27, something that would unfortunately set the tone for the rest of their season.
With homecoming around the corner, however, the Wolverines are ready and raring to go, with the hope that they can bring their journey from setback to success full circle against St. Lucy’s Oct. 24.