Alya Mehrtash staff writer
The players’ screams fill the Swim Gym as they try to communicate with their scrambling teammates. Players on both teams jump and dive in an attempt to keep the flying ball in the air. Regardless of who gets the point, the Normans huddle up at the end of each play, patting each others’ backs before they break and get in formation for the next rally.
Despite losing all three sets, the Normans still put up a tough fight against SAMO, who currently holds the first place spot in the Ocean League. The Normans’ quick dives saved them multiple times against hard spikes from SAMO, as did a few effective blocks from the middle blockers.
Back row opposite junior Nahal Sarafian felt that the Normans played a great defensive game in the last set, while also recognizing that the team still has room for improvement in that exact aspect of the game.
“Our team’s greatest strength today was defense in the last game of the match. We began to be able to read our opponents and adjust based on patterns we recognized,” Sarafian said. “If we had been able to recognize these patterns earlier on in the match, I believe the scores would have been much closer. This is a weakness we seem to have in many games, but [improvement] comes from experience and learning more about the sport.”
Junior Reina Paysinger also found that the team’s rallying abilities was one thing that distinguished this game from the others.
“I think we played well against SAMO,” Paysinger said. “We had some good rallies with them. I also think that one of our strengths was blocking today.”
According to senior captain Angela Bradbury, the Normans “couldn’t move our feet quick enough to get into our defensive shape,” which ended up benefitting the Vikings offensively. However, regardless of the score, she feels that they continued to play with dedication and refused to give up until the final buzzer went off.
“I thought we were able to compete well with them because they are a very strong and big team with lots of experience. Even though we lost I am still very happy with the effort everyone gave.”
The next girls volleyball match will be on Sept. 2 against the rival Culver City Centaurs (13-7, 1-1 Ocean League) in the Swim Gym.