(Top: Alyssa Dern and Blake Kusher, Middle: Kylie Bruder and Valeria de las Casas, Bottom: Ariana Altieri) The 2016 Girls Volleyball team had five seniors carry the team through a 16-5 season. (via Blake Kushner, senior)
Pine Crest Girls’ Varsity Volleyball has been working for months in hopes of surpassing their achievements from last year and ultimately winning the State Championship. Starting with practices in August, the season was long, but definitely successful with a solid record of 16-5. The girls came back from a powerful 2015 season and lost key seniors, but they were helped with important first-year players, including Valeria de las Casas, Ilana Shapiro, Katie Haeffner, Maddie Fowler, Isa Hill, and Ashley Gold.
The girls have been named District Champions for the past two years now, an extraordinary feat. Although they were not able to accomplish this goal this year, they played incredibly well.
Since it is their last year before heading off to college, no one wanted to win states more than the seniors on the team. The senior captains were Kylie Bruder and Ariana Altieri, and the rest of the seniors include Blake Kushner, Alyssa Dern, and Valeria de las Casas. Last season ended with a hard loss for the team, halting their goal of winning states. But this year, the girls were determined to win what they had been practicing all season for.
Kylie Bruder, setter and five-year member of the team, shares her perspective of the season.
“This season was a bit of a roller coaster, but I’m really proud of how far this team came since the beginning of the season. Although we weren’t able to make it to states for my last season, we played really well this season and I am so proud of our team,” Kylie said.
The team played Calvary Christian last Friday on October 28 and lost in five sets with a score of 2-3. They were able to crush the Calvary in the first two games, but Calvary came out on top in this one, preventing our team’s goals of moving on to Regional finals. The girls played well this season, but fell short of their state championship dreams.
Blake Kushner, a defensive specialist on the team for the past two years, was incredibly proud of how well the girls performed this year.
“Everyone had their own strengths on the team which made our team really strong. We definitely came together as a team and were able to have a great season. I am really proud of how well we did this year and I can’t wait to see how the team does in the future years,” Blake said.
The volleyball team consisted of mostly upperclassmen this year, but the two freshmen and five sophomores on the team this year were definitely able to step up and compete with players up to three years older than them.
The team also has three key players who have already verbally committed to playing collegiate-level volleyball: senior Kylie Bruder for the University of Illinois, senior Ariana Altieri for Williams College, and junior Shari Stenglein for Columbia University. Type One wishes them the best of luck on their future teams.