Lady Cavaliers finish with over 20 wins and only one loss in regular season

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Lady Cavaliers finish with over 20 wins and only one loss in regular season

Photo by Kimberly Moorefield.

Photo by Kimberly Moorefield.

Photo by Kimberly Moorefield.

Photo by Kimberly Moorefield.

Dylan Stanford, Staff Writer

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By Dylan Stanford

Although the girls volleyball team lost to Cox in the regional tournament ending a successful season with the Lady Cavaliers finishing the season with over 20 wins and only one loss in the regular season. 

The knockout match was 1-3, with the scores being 25-20, 17-25, 25-27, and 15-25. 

“I was really excited going into the game,” said senior setter Alyssa Vitale. “But as the game went on and I realized that we weren’t performing as well as I wanted us to, I really just wanted to embrace the moment—just being with my teammates for the last time on the court.” 

Senior libero Erin Gray, who finished the season with 346 digs, was also looking forward going into the game because she “knew how much [they] all wanted to advance.” However, once the game was over for her, it began to “hit a little harder” as she realized that it was her last high school game and her last chance to play with her teammates. 

According to Vitale, if she could go back and tell herself or her teammates one thing during the game, it would be to play for each other and give everything they have. 

Gray said something similar: “If I could go back, I would try 10 times harder. Not only to play better, but to be a better leader for my team. I would reassure them that we are there for a reason, and that we just need to believe in ourselves and play for each other.”

It was a bittersweet moment for many of the Lady Cavaliers, but nevertheless, they are satisfied of all they have achieved.

“I am proud of everything we have accomplished this year as a team,” said Gray. “Before our season, there were talks about us having a down year because we lost eight amazing seniors, but we did so well and accomplished so much more than what people expected from us.”

And according to Vitale, the eight seniors comprised most of their starting lineup so they “had big shoes to fill.” This is because last year, they had an undefeated season.

Despite losing so many seniors, the Lady Cavaliers only lost one game in the regular season and four games overall, which Vitale attributes to “the fact that all the underclassmen were able to take on the new challenge and play at the same level as last year.”

But losing seniors was not the only new factor; the girls also gained a new coach, Courtney Anderson. 

According to Anderson, this first year with girls was amazing: “It was awesome. I’ve coached some of them at ECVC (our club program) but not for a full season. These girls are a special group. They hang out together outside the gym and are each other’s best friends. Being a part of something as special as PAVB (Princess Anne Volleyball) has been super rewarding for me and I can’t wait to see what the future holds.” 

Anderson also noticed the incredibly strong bond between all the girls.

“This team has a bond like nowhere else I’ve ever coached. Seeing them perform with such flow and pure athleticism on the court is exciting as a coach. We asked the girls to fix a small technique or run this play and our girls got it done. This team has the X factor a lot of other teams want from us. In our practices, what we most work on is receiving serves, different situation drills, connection with setters and attackers, etc. The PAVB culture knows how to perform and execute.”

Some important highlights from the season include sophomore Leyla Conley who “came in this year knowing she had big shoes to fill,” said Gray. “She has been nothing but amazing for us.”

Conley ended the season 291 attacks and 134 kills.

Another outstanding player is junior Jiji Lykins, an all-around player who finished with 870 attacks, 374 kills, and 233 digs. 

Vitale ended the season with 757 assists and is committed to Lafayette university, while Gray is committed to Averett University.