Rolling With the Punches

Nina Lavezzo-Stecopoulos, Feature Editor

Injuries have occurred, new players have joined, and the volleyball season continues to accommodate change after change as state approaches. Kaylee Paulson ‘19 and Kelsey Law ‘20, who have both played volleyball throughout their high school careers, and have seen the JV and varsity teams build trust and communication skills as the season has progressed, but the teams face new challenges.

“I sprained [my ankle] in all sides, the front, my Achilles tendon and the sides and [the bump] was pretty big, it was tennis-ball sized,” Law said. “It’s a severe high ankle sprain so I’ll be in a boot for two to four weeks, which is our whole season.”

On Thursday, October 12, Law was doing the first drill of the day when she rolled her ankle. Law has had an impingement in her shoulder for the past year for which she recently received a cortisone shot. She continued to play throughout the season despite this injury, but when Law injured her ankle she immediately knew that she was done for the season.

“I knew it was bad. Right after I did it I was screaming and Ellie and Mack carried me to the trainer’s room,” Law said. “I was really frustrated because I knew that we could possibly go to state and I really want to participate in that. It’s mostly anger that was the first reaction. I want to be able to play.”

Varsity has gotten second in both of its tournaments so far and placed ninth in a conference on October 13. The team lost to Kennedy 25-12 and Jefferson 25-11. A team City had previously won against, Prairie, beat them at this conference. Law thinks her team should have beaten Prairie, but City had some wins despite their setbacks. City beat West along with Waterloo East and all the other teams in the tournament. Both Law and Paulson have seen their teams grow throughout the season.

“It’s always hard at the beginning of the season because you’re working with new people and learning the best way that people work together. There’s always different changes in the lineups and we also had some people that were out at the beginning of the season and then they came in partway through, which changed lineups are stuff,” Paulson said. “Once we got used to the new changes we were able to work a lot better together.”

As the trust built in the JV team, Paulson has seen improvement in the games.

“You can definitely see those moments for JV. Recently on our game, we started to go on runs and get a lot of points in a row,” Paulson said. “That really encourages us and our energy builds.”

In the beginning of the season the JV team was missing two players: Kate Swenning ‘19 and Olivia DeNeice ‘19. DeNeice is the team’s setter and Swenning plays in any position. They are both necessary or the team. According to Law, varsity kept many of the same players, who already knew each other well, as the year before and they only lost one senior. In years past this was not the case.

“I think my freshman year we had a star team with a lot of star players and they didn’t really mesh at first,” Law said. “Once they started communicating and trusting halfway through the season it was much more successful.”

City has not been to state throughout Law’s years on the team. In her freshman year City lost at the last regionals game which determined if they made state or not. But this year Law saw improvement in the team after a game with Hempstead, who is a strong competitor along with Jefferson.

“We were flowing,” said Law. “It was a really great game and that was the turning point. Once we beat [Hempstead] we were like, “Whoa, we have so much potential. This could be a great season.’”