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Volleyball Team Vanquishes

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Volleyball Team Vanquishes

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Volleyball is a sport which is centered heavily around team spirit and energy levels. Edmonds Community College’s Tritons understand this fully, and use it to dominate their opponents, which has led them to become an undefeated team, and the top ranked in the North of Washington.

Before each game, the women have a ritual to do. In what they call a check-in, the Tritons stay outside the court to psychologically prepare themselves and high-five each other. Team Captain, Heather Goodman, describes the routine, “It’s our way of leaving everything outside of the court so that we are mentally and physically prepared to play.” Therefore, this ceremony is a way for the Tritons to cleanse any bad energy that is lingering amongst them.

Once they make it to the court, it doesn’t matter who they are playing. They all assume their positions. Some stay in the back, some remain in the front, others focus on passing while the rest of them hang on the net, waiting to block incoming strikes from their opponent.

In-between plays, the Tritons take the time to let each other know what they did right and offer some encouragement. Quite a few others show their support in a special sort of way: playfully slapping each other’s butts. When asked about this, Blocker Kendall Broschat smirks and said, “Sadie…”, a playful nod to one of the most notorious butt-slappers on the team. Continuing her explanation, “it is honestly just a way for us to communicate a job well done, nonverbally.”

Although the women have different positions, they all come together to form one dominating, point-scoring machine. The Triton’s synchronicity is reminiscent of the way birds fly seamlessly together, communicating with each other almost telepathically.

“Every time I do something, I think this should be my best, or this should be better than last time,” Sadie Gardner details about what goes through her mind while competing with other teams. Gardner goes on to explain how one person affects the whole. “In regards to the team, if you’re giving your most effort, it will hype the rest up as well.”

The setting has no control over the outcome of the game for the Tritons. Even in games which are far from home, their composure does not break. The opposite happens. The team is sure to bring the same cut-throat attitude they exude at home to away games.

In these away games, the shouting and encouragement for the Tritons are almost nonexistent as the majority of the audience is rooting for their home team. This lack of feedback does not affect the Triton’s team spirit one bit, showcasing themselves as a centered team, no matter what their surroundings look like or how their spectators act.

Their sisterhood goes deeper than playing a few games with each other, since many of them also living together. Broschat says that only about two or three team members do not live with someone on the team. Therefore, it comes to no surprise that the team shares a bond that is closer than just playing a few games with each other, their personal lives interweave throughout the team culture as well.     

It is this bond which allows the team members to notice when someone is having an off day. If one of the players is having a bad day, the mood is surveyed, and if the team concludes that having that energy on the court will affect the team, then the player is allowed to sit out for the night.

In what might seem like a punishment, to have a member sit out, it is actually considered a touch of empathy for the team. Not only does the team know that bad days are very much a reality, they know that forcing a friend to play when she cannot do her best is even worse of a punishment. Therefore, the Tritons value the collective team energy, by not allowing one bad day to affect a game or take away a victory.

Win after win, and it has become apparent that the Triton’s winning streak is not a story of luck, but one of determination, accountability, and sheer energy. For this team of 14 women, the excitement is coming to a boiling point, as they remain undefeated and are number one in the North of Washington state. Championships are just around the corner, and the team’s goal is to not only be undefeated, but to take home the trophy, a goal very much in their reach.

Toni Miranda, Head Coach of the victorious Tritons, explains that the team contains some of the most self-sufficient players he has ever coached, “I allowed them a coachless practice the other day, not because I needed the day off, but to show them that they can do it all on their own.” And they did.

During this practice without their mentor, the Tritons were as focused as ever, delegating amongst themselves, and using their time wisely, not wasting a single second.

Even during practice, the team maintains their prowess, playing each other as if the other side of the net houses an opponent. Instead of taking it easy and playing a relaxed game, they all do their best so that the team can get better. This type of determination is the exact kind that will lead the team to victory during Championships.

At the end of every practice, the team performs a check-out, similar to their check-ins. It is time for all of their energy to form into one and they huddle around, high-fiving each other and saying a chant, usually about beating their upcoming opponent.

It is not enough for the Tritons to know they are the best in the conference. They are also interested in being the best of Washington, and to do that they will face fierce competitors, ones whose moves are studied. “They had a staff dinner, all by themselves,” Miranda said, “and during that dinner, they did their homework on teams they might face during Championships, watching videos of how their future competitors play and what to expect from them.”

Gearing up for Championships is the current mood in the practices and the games leading up to them, knowing they have already secured their spot in them. If the last 14 undefeated games for the Tritons tell us  anything, it is that they are a team which must not be underestimated by their future adversaries.

The next two weeks are crunch time for the team. Every day counts and every practice grows with passion, showing exactly how bad the Tritons want their trophy.

After watching nine games of them completely dominating several teams, there is no doubt in my mind that the Tritons will become number one in the state.

I can see it now, their ponytails cracking through the air with the intensity of thunder, spiking the ball with all the force in their beings, floating across the court like butterflies, blocking opponent’s strikes like clockwork and in a flash, the team walks out with the trophy they all worked so very hard to attain.

And in the end, the story is not about a ball, a net, or some knee-pads. No, volleyball goes much deeper. It is a story of unwavering friendship, flawless cooperation, unmatched perseverance, fierce energy, and some friendly butt-slapping.

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Volleyball Team Vanquishes