Lady Warriors Beat Crusaders
By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune
Both the JV and Varsity Hoopa Volleyball teams fought their way to victory in close games against the St. Bernard’s Crusaders in front of a hometown crowd on Thursday, October 10.
The JV Lady Warriors headed onto the court with what some might have considered a big handicap: two of their players had been pulled away to play on the Varsity team.
Naomi Ames, JV volleyball coach, said, “They needed more Varsity players, so they took Winnie and Naishian.”
Despite strong play at the net and aces on serves by Rhea McCoy, the Lady Warriors fell behind and the Crusaders won the first set 25-20.
Hoopa came back strong in the second set, gaining a quick 4-0 lead before the game started to see-saw back and forth. The score later tied at 8-8, 14-14, and 17-17 before Hoopa pulled ahead and won the set 25-22.
JV Setter Namechi Frank said, “We beat them on the set and it feels amazing.”
The third and final set was another back-and-forth nail biter, which saw the Warriors and Crusaders tied at 15-15 before the home team pulled ahead again to take the set 17-15, and win the game 2-1.
After the game, Coach Ames talked with the team outside the gym. “You guys were super aggressive on the net. I like that.”
“We won, we won!” Frank said.
Hoopa’s Varsity volleyball team took to the court with two new players, former JV Hitter Naishian Richards and former JV Setter Winnie Carpenter, and a revamped roster.
“I’m really excited about it,” Richards said. “I’m nervous before every game now, but then I get into the game and I get over it.”
Another change was Freshman player Mariah Jarnaghan putting on a white jersey to mark her as the team’s Libero – a back row specialist who doesn’t rotate to the front row.
The Crusaders quickly showed they weren’t a team to be taken lightly; they played aggressively and wrapped up the first set 25-17.
Hoopa started out behind again in the second set before they caught up to tie the score 16-16.
Hitters Richards and Lindsey Billings crowded the net as the two teams traded volley after volley. An ending spike by Richards put the Lady Warriors ahead.
Several serves and an ace from Setter Claudia Patino put Hoopa up by three, and the Crusaders weren’t able to catch up. The second set ended 25-20, tying the game 1-1.
St. Bernard’s upped their game with brutal serves from Crusader Joslynn Silvers and strong play all around, but the Lady Warriors rose to the challenge.
An epic battle took shape at the net with volleys being returned by both teams for several minutes until Billings ended it with a well-timed spike, and the third set ended like the second; at 25-20, with Hoopa in the lead 2-1.
The Lady Warriors were definitely warmed up after the first three sets, and fell into a steady bump-set-spike routine in the last set; with all of the team members working together like a machine.
Mariah Jarnaghan, Samantha Norton, or Felice Cervantes would slow the ball down, Patino or Carpenter would set it up, and one of the team’s hitters – Richards, Billings, or Stella Jarnaghan, would send it over the net.
Hoopa defeated St. Bernard’s 25-23 in the fourth set and won the game 3-1.
Norton said, “We all just worked together and had a great day because of teamwork.”
Varsity Volleyball Coach Erika Chase revealed one of the secrets to the team’s success. “Josh and Carley Whitecrane coached me when I was in high school, and they came and worked with the team.”
“The whole team would like to thank them,” Chase said to happy nods from the Lady Warriors before she told the team, “Awesome job. Great blocks. Way to rebuild.”