By ERIC LI, sophomore
Although volleyball sometimes gets less attention than soccer and football, the JP Stevens girls volleyball team has just as, if not more, intense matches. The team began its season with an impressive 6-2 record, which included a blowout victory in its home opener against North Brunswick. Although the team’s success cannot be attributed to any one player, varsity setter and captain Sydney Lin (11) has cemented her role as the centerpiece of the offense.
Playing as a varsity setter since her freshman year, Lin tallied an impressive total of Lin tallied an impressive total of 711 assists, 145 service points, and 141 digs in two years. However, she knows that her role as a setter is far more important than her individual accomplishments. Lin explains, “It’s said that the setter is the most important player on the court because that person directs the flow of the ball, but we still function as a team; without each other we won’t be able to reach our maximum potential.”
While Lin has been stellar, she has not led the Hawks to a 12-3 record on her own. Senior co-captains Kayla Smith and Nina Carlsen lead the team with 104 kills and 51 kills respectively; on the other side of the ball, senior libero Michelle Qiou has anchored the Hawks’ defense, with 100 digs.
Although GMC rival Old Bridge lost some key players last year to graduation, including 2014 GMC Player of the Year Elizabeth Joseph, they remained a formidable foe for the Hawks Although Old Bridge and JP tied after two sets in the September 24 matchup, the Hawks were able to regain their focus and took the third, deciding set, 25-16. Lin dished out 25 assists in the win and Smith led the way with 10 kills, the first double-digit kill effort by a single Hawk this season. Michelle Quiou (12) attributes the team’s success to the ubiquitous encouragement on the court, “When we support each other the whole way, it’s never a bad game. Volleyball is all about the cheering and keeping each other excited.”
While it is still very early in the 2015 season, it’s hard to miss the fact that every member of the current varsity team besides Lin is a graduating senior. Although it’s not certain that the team will maintain the same level of success next season, Coach White looks at the situation with optimism, remarking, “Unfortunately, you can’t do anything about graduation, but I have faith that Sydney, as well as the other girls will step up next year and will be determined to continue our winning tradition.” As the current team’s time at JP winds down, one can rest assured that they will give this season their very all.