Girls volleyball heads into post-season in spite of young team, losing record


Clara Sandler

CAPTAIN: Natacha Chowaiki, No. 3, prepares to return the ball from Pac Lutheran in the gym Oct. 28. Shalhevet lost the match 3-0.

By Clara Sandler, Staff Writer

The Firehawk girls’ volleyball team is in a transition stage and had a losing record this year, but improved as the year went on and are headed to the playoffs after placing third in the Coastal League.

Overall, they have a won five matches and lost seven, whereas last year the team went 6-3. But team captain Natacha Chowaiki thinks they did pretty well under the circumstances.

“Now our team is mostly freshman and sophomores,” said Natacha. “They’re improving at every practice.”

The team lost its final game against YULA last Saturday night, 3-0. Earlier it played Ambassador, Wiseburn-Da Vinci, Environmental Charter, Pacific Lutheran, Summit View West and Pacific Hills.

Their best game was Oct. 19 against Summit View West. The Firehawks won all three rounds, and limited the Wildcats to 10 points in round 1, 6 in round 2, and 9 in round 3.

The game that they struggled the most was when they played Wiseburn Da-Vinci Oct. 16. Shalhevet lost all three rounds, and was only able to score 12 points in round 1, 14 in round 2, and 21 in round 3.

Over the course of the season, Coach Mike Sweet said he taught the basics and tried to get players ready to face teams that play at a faster pace.

“I’ve sped up the practices and shortened them so that hopefully they’ll be prepared when they play teams that run a faster paced game,” Coach Sweet said.

Varsity and junior varsity teams have been practicing together as everyone tries to adjust to the more competitive high school scene.

“I played volleyball for Maimonides for two years, but it was at a way different level,” said freshman varsity player Ariella Sassover. “High school volleyball is a lot more advanced than middle school volleyball.”

Senior Sariel Elkaim said the group had developed some teamwork and players learned from each other.

“We’ve all come together and made a better team in general because new players learn different skills from teams they were on before,” said Sariel.

Coach Sweet said he was happy with the progress the girls made this season, particularly in “reacting instead of overthinking.”

““What we’ve changed recently is high intensity practices and a lot of rallies,” It’s worked well, we’ve done better since I made this change,” Coach Sweet said.

The playoff season begins Nov. 10 at University Prep, and because they came in third place in the league, the Firehawks still have a chance of coming first in the Coastal League.

That would be quite the finish after a season full of ups and downs.