Audrey James-Anenih, staff writer
Team bonding is a tradition that the entire athletic department embraces to build lasting relationships on and off the court. The girls volleyball program utilizes time spent outside of practice to build strength on the court.
Junior middle blocker, Paige Dubelko finds bonding to be essential for life on the court.
“How close you are to your team definitely affects how well you play together,” Dubelko said. “Luckily for our whole team, we have always been a really tight-knit group of friends. For that reason, I think we are going to have a really successful season.”
Both the JV and varsity teams have different methods to establish this bond among the group of girls. From in-practice drills and games to sleepovers, dinner parties and outings for ice cream, the girls manage to squeeze in time for fun between games and tournaments.
“So far this year, varsity has done an ice cream social at The Bigg Chill and my JV girls had a pool party and sleepover at the home of one of the players,” sophomore JV co-captain Rachel Monasebian said. “Last year we had a ceremonial dinner at Coach Weiss’ home and we all definitely felt like a family. The little things that we do together actually help us to get to know each other the best. Knowing the personality of our teammates helps us better predict their movements on the court.”
Sophomore JV setter Alyssa Thompson feels closer to her teammates because of bonding time.
“Bonding strengthens the relationships on the team because it gives us a chance to get to know each other more and learn more about one another. It also lets us learn what our teammates are like outside of volleyball,” Thompson said.
With the emerging league games, the players find that a little competition amongst close companions in practice helps them to play their best when game time comes around.
“We found a good way to strengthen ourselves and turn up the heat when it comes to practice. Usually we pick our closest friend and during practice we try our best to always perform better than them, almost like a rivalry, but it doesn’t get past the court. It allows us to always perform to our highest potential.”
Being able to competitively challenge each other requires strong friendships with other teammates and these girls have found a way to do that through off-court bonding.