Girls volleyball team keeps winning as season heats up

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BP Photo by Evan Beller

NET: Senior Noa Talasazan hit the ball over the net Sept. 8 in Shalhevet’s victory over Compton Early College High School.

By Dana Brodt , Ninth Grade

UPDATE: The girls volleyball team’s record is now 3-0, after they defeated Price last night in the Shalhevet gym.  The score was 3-0, Shalhevet winning all 3 sets, 25-10, 25-14 and 25-6.

The Firehawks’ girls volleyball team continued its season-opening winning streak by defeating Compton Early College High School 3-0 Sept. 8, demonstrating strong chemistry and teamwork and bringing their win-loss record to 2-0.

About a dozen family and friends cheered from the sidelines as the team, led by Ms. Angelica Castellanos, aimed to win three out of five sets.  Ms. Castellanos, known to players as Coach Jelly, has led the team since fall 2018.

To win a volleyball game, a team must win three out of five sets, with each set going to 25 points. On Thursday, the Firehawks beat Early College without losing a single set.

Both teams started off strong in the first set – Shalhevet scoring the first two points and Compton firing back, with no team exceeding a four-point lead until the very end, when the Firehawks won 25-20.  Fans sat on the edge of their seats in anticipation, but the Firehawks kept their cool and used key strategies to beat the other team. 

One of these strategies, players said, was calling out numbers based on their positions and where they think the ball is going to land. Another was hyping each other up and yelling words of encouragement from the bench as well as on the court.

Maintaining a collective energy between the girls and lifting each other up… leads us to play our best.”

— Adi Liebenthal, junior

“Maintaining a collective energy between the girls and lifting each other up,” said team member and junior Adi Liebenthal, “leads us to play our best.”

In the second set Shalhevet dominated, as Compton began to lose its confidence and rhythm. Early College failed to put up a rally and Shalhevet was able to seize the opportunity and win the set 25-12. 

Senior and Firehawk captain Noa Talasazan thought that wasn’t the best set for the Firehawks, either.  Asked about the other team’s play, she said Compton was suffering from low energy.

“Everyone [was] on such low energy that they kept doubting themselves, and that made us mess up,” she said, because it “brought down our chemistry [and] flow.”

After that, both Compton and Shalhevet brought their all in the third. Displaying excellent communication and teamwork, the Firehawks came out on the victorious end of several thrilling rallies, some lasting minutes. 

Juniors Atara and Aviva Cohen, Adi Liebenthal, Eliana Wainberg, and Davina Benelyahu all showed determination and aggression by diving for the ball, hitting vital sets and bumps and making important saves while Noa landed powerful spikes. 

After what seemed like an eternity of bumping, setting and spiking the volleyball, Shalhevet finally stole the set, winning 25-9, bringing the overall score of the game to 3-0.

After high-fiving the players from Compton, the Lady Firehawks celebrated their undefeated start to the season. 

“I’ve been on this team for four years, and I’ve never seen it be so consistent, so I’m hoping for good things and I just feel like this is gonna be our year,” Noa said.