By KAREN JIANG, sophomore
While many of us lounged in the comfort of our air-conditioned rooms during the summer, the JP girls’ volleyball team was preparing for an exciting fall season. Considering their results in the season so far, their preparation has definitely paid off. The Lady Hawks are currently 12-3 and look to continue their winning streak.
Senior captains Susan Zhao, Heidy Shi, and Jessica Liu led the Hawks through twelve thrilling victories over strong competitors including Bloomfield, West-Windsor Plainsboro North, Rutgers Prep, and East Brunswick. The trio of talented captains serve as exemplary role models for their fellow teammates: Jessica Liu leads her team in aces and service points (27 and 72, respectively), Heidy Shi leads with 174 digs, and Susan Zhao currently holds a team record of 97 kills. The three are supported by sophomore Sydney Lin with 282 assists, and junior Jamina Morris with 25 blocks.
The Hawks’ success is credited to the strong team camaraderie during practices. Jessica Liu comments, “Everyone is really supportive of everyone on all three levels of teams; words of encouragement are a constant presence at practices.” This amiable and encouraging atmosphere is evident in their “5-down” warm-up before every game; each exercise is synchronized and well-executed, without a step out of place. Fellow captain Heidy Shi agrees, “When one player falls, we all fall together. But when [one] succeeds, we succeed together.”
“When one player falls, we all fall together. But when [one] succeeds, we succeed together.”
The chemistry among the team members is even stronger during game time. Heidy Shi mentions how in previous years, a few good players would hold most of the weight for the team. However, this season, the story is different; according to Heidy, “This year, we’ve distributed the weight evenly. So come game time, we play for not only ourselves but for the whole team.” The close bond of the team helps the Lady Hawks overcome disadvantages as a unit. Jessica Liu comments, “We’re a pretty short team…but we work with it and we don’t find it a disadvantage. We’re closer to the ground, which means defense is normally easier.”
For all teams, talent is vital to success. However, teamwork is what sets this team apart from others. Every girl gives her all during both practices and games, and every win is a team win. This mentality paid a huge role in the Hawks’ previous wins and will definitely push them further into the GMCs and state competitions.