Volleyball eyes state title after perfect league finish

By Charlton Azuoma

The girls’ volleyball team is heading to the CIF playoffs after finishing first in Division 1AA. The team boasts a record of 23-2 and a .923 win percentage.

Seniors Christina Higgins ’11 and Anne Cohen ’11 have led the way for the highly experienced team this season with 321 kills and 166 digs respectively.

“There are a lot of teams out there that are out for us,” Cohen said. “We just need to focus on continuing to play strong as a team.”

The team’s success, however, has unveiled a potential mental weakness.

“I think that our biggest challenge will be coming out with focus and discipline every game,” setter Kellie Barnum ’11 said. “Everyone is good. The team who will win is the team with the most passion and chemistry.”

“The thing with us is that we get bored easily against teams that we don’t consider a challenge to us,” Cohen said. “We need to focus on keeping on our toes because any one of these teams can come out with a lot of heart and upset us in the playoffs. We’d hate for that to happen to us.”

“For us to get the state title, it would take us taking every game point by point and not underestimating any teams,” Cohen said.

The team will be without the support of Yale-bound setter Danielle Salka ’11, who is out for the rest of the season with an ACL injury, and Milena Popovic ’11, who is out with a shoulder injury.

“Milena and Dani were both key factors in our offense,” Katie Price ’12 said. “I think our CIF journey would have been much easier with both of them but we have made a lot of improvements as a team to work around it.”

Even though the team is without of its two major contributors of its roster, the team members believe that they will be up to the task in the playoffs without them.

“Our girls have played some really good teams since the injuries to Milena and Dani,” Head Coach Adam Black said. “We’ll be ready.”

“When I found out we lost Milena and Dani, my first reaction was that the rest of the season would be a struggle,” Sofia Davila ’12 said. “However after just a few games and practices, I realized we were really going to be okay. “We quickly adjusted to the new rotation, and the players taking their spot have really stepped it up. We haven’t let this loss slow us down.

The team has a bye in the first week because of its first place finish in the Mission League. The bye will give time for Popovic to have a chance at coming back from her shoulder injury before the end of the playoffs.