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Xavier Volleyball: Serving Up the Competition on a Platter

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Adele Benson

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“Energetic,” “spirited,” “unified,” and “hardworking” are all words used by members of your very own student body to describe the Xavier Girls Volleyball team. This talented team has dominated the Desert Valley League for years and continues to excel each year. Last year’s team won DVL and made it to quarterfinals in CIF.

As reigning Desert Valley League Champions, the Examiner decided to ask members of the current team what their greatest threats to a two-peat title in the new Desert Empire League might be. Varsity Volleyball player Samantha Castillo said, “Our biggest competitions are Palm Springs and Palm Desert. Both teams are very strong in all aspects of the game and extremely scrappy in defense.” She also explained that her team is working hard on being unified while playing and keeping a positive attitude, as this is key to major success this volleyball season.

As in every new season, there are new players. This year’s additions are vital to the team. Look for power from four new players, two Freshmen, Logan Harris, and Alexia Siani-Rader, and two Sophomores, Jaelyn Moraga and Olivia De Klotz. Jaelyn Moraga explained the strengths the new players bring to the team. She said that “Logan has a killer jump and is going to help us with our kill percentage. Alexia is hurt currently but has a killer serve. Olivia De Klotz is very good at defense, and I help all around, bringing motivation and voice to the team.”

Surprisingly, this year’s Xavier volleyball team is relatively young and is dominated by Sophomores and Freshmen. This is good for the future of this athletic program, as the majority of players will continue playing when they become upperclassmen. However, right now, this young team continually strives to bond and stay unified which is their ultimate goal: being able to “mesh” as a team.

As the leading team in the Desert Empire League, the Xavier Girls Volleyball team has to have strong leadership to keep the team motivated and in high spirits. This year’s team captain is Xavier Senior Jillian Whitcomb. She has been on Varsity Volleyball for four years at Xavier. Jillian is known on and off the court as “Ging” for her striking ginger colored hair. “Ging” is described by many of her teammates as “extremely encouraging” in every situation and is an overall great leader for this winning team. Another essential aspect to the team is the starting lineup which regularly consists of Golden Hinchen, Sophia Callahan, Olivia Barkett, Taylor Schein, Jenna Braun, Jillian Whitcomb, and Teti Omilana. All of these players work hand in hand to have a successful start to every game, but the stand-outs are Sophia Callahan and Golden Hinchen.

As a team on the road to another year of success, their practice regimen is key. The team has an intense practice schedule of three-hour practices every day except game days and Sundays. Sometimes the time is split between two hours in the gym practicing and another hour viewing the film. Hannah Sloan, a member of the Varsity Volleyball team, explains their practices, “We start by peppering and warming up our arms with a partner. Then from there, we do drills such as Xavier 50, dig chase, serving groups, hitting lines, and gameplay.” The team understands the value of practice and its influence on their growth as volleyball players. Samantha Castillo said regarding their practices, “A regular practice means a lot to me. We always try our hardest to practice how we want to play. We also work to get 2% better every day.” Remember those new sand volleyball courts? Well, the team has already begun using those as well, incorporating it into their preseason summer conditioning practices.

Another form of preparation for this stellar team is through tournaments. What makes tournaments more exciting is traveling to an entirely new city! This year the Xavier Volleyball team traveled to San Francisco to play. While there, the team was exposed to some of the best college volleyball at a Stanford volleyball game. The game provided great exposure to show the team new techniques. Additionally, traveling together created a greater bonding experience.

All of this hard work is to prepare for the most anticipated game of the year, the Xavier and Palm Desert game. For the Xavier Volleyball players, this is the game that they look forward to all year. The excitement associated with this game is the result of the intensity of the match, as Palm Desert is a top competitor in DEL. This game brings the largest turn out for student body attendees. With the drive and dedication of this year’s Xavier Volleyball team, failure is not an option. Go Saints!

 

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About the Writer
Adele Benson, Writer

I am a Junior at Xavier College Prep. I play on the Xavier Girl's Water Polo team and am swimming on Xavier's Swim team as well. I lived in Manhattan Beach...

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Xavier Volleyball: Serving Up the Competition on a Platter