Volleyball gave it all their might on Senior Night

November 8, 2022

Cate+Stead%2C+Teagan+Kirk%2C+Gigi+Grimm%2C+Giuliana+Farkas+and+Kiera+Freeman+celebrate+a+point+during+the+game+on+Oct.+24.

Jackie Su (she/her)

Cate Stead, Teagan Kirk, Gigi Grimm, Giuliana Farkas and Kiera Freeman celebrate a point during the game on Oct. 24.

Girls volleyball put up a hard fight against Newport High School for their senior night on October 24, 2022. The Vikings played four sets against the Knights and lost three to one. 

Senior Meadow Clarkson (she/her) said the team initially felt nervous because their starting outside hitter, senior Lizzy Naeseth (she/her) had injured her ankle and was unable to play. Despite this, Naeseth still showed her support from the bench by stepping up to help coach the team.

“I still had so much fun. Even though my love came in the form of screams,” joked Naeseth, “I just really wanted to encourage them to play their best.”

The Newport Knights started the first set in the lead. Senior Kate Kresken (she/her) scored the first couple points, with skillful hits that left Newport stumbling. The crowd cheered her on as she hit over the Knights’ attempts at blocking. The Vikings steadily caught up but the Knights eventually maintained a five point lead, eventually winning the first set 25-12. 

“I feel like we played pretty good, but we definitely knew that we could’ve done better. I think we really stepped up during the second set,” said Kresken, who played the outside hitter position for this game. 

Senior Cate Stead (she/her) said the team went into the second set with the intention of boosting the energy. 

“Everyone really focused on that and cheered for every point and every kill, and it just went really well,” said Stead. “Everyone definitely brought the energy up.”

During the second set, the Vikings played a more closely matched game. Even though the Knights started out ahead, several good blocks from senior Kiera Freeman (she/her) and key sets from senior Teagan Kirk (she/her), allowed the Vikings to catch up. 

“Our defense was really on top of it with our blocks and digs,” said Naeseth. “And then we also pressed different offensive techniques than what would usually work.”

The Vikings continued to push back, eventually tying the game 19-19. Then, Stead scored and put the team in the lead 20-19. The crowd went wild, and they continued to cheer the team on after every point. The Vikings finished strong, winning the second set 25-22.

“I think a proud moment for me was winning that second set. As a team, that was one of our most impressive sets,” said Freeman. “Everyone was fighting their hardest and the offense was getting a lot of blocks in. Defense was working really well and picking up all of Newport’s hits.”

There were several long and intense rallies between the two teams during the third set. Defense played an important role, with key blocks from Clarkson. Great digs from seniors Giuliana Farkas (she/her) and Piper Jiyamapa (she/her) characterized the Viking defense.

 The team kept their momentum from winning their previous set and stayed in the lead until the Knights caught up and eventually won the third set 25-15.

The Vikings were determined to win the fourth set for a chance to tie 2-2, which would have allowed them to play a fifth set and potentially win. Once again, they displayed their technique through challenging rallies with many points from Kresken and great defense from Kirk.

Freeman said juniors Victoria Plumb (she/her) and Mackenzie Rothmeyer (she/her) were both key defensive players. Both Freeman and Naeseth also highlighted the great strategic offense played by Kresken. 

“What Kate did was– she would hit over their block but it would still be in. So, she would work with the blocks,” said Freeman.

The Vikings kept up and stayed neck to neck with the Knights. The score went from 6-6, to 8-8 and then 9-9. Newport eventually took the lead 15-11, but the Vikings pushed back hard; they kept their offense and defense strong. After many close rallies, Newport came out on top with a final score of 25-21.

Despite the loss, the team still expressed their pride for one another and for the team they built together.

Clarkson said that the team went into the season a bit disconnected and as individual players, but now they are playing more as a team. She added that the players have grown to understand how each other plays.

Stead agreed, saying that the team is like a family, and that she’s sad to see the season end because she’s had a lot of fun with the team.

“I’ve known a lot of these girls for a long time, and I’ve played with them for a long time. But seeing all of them improve and play their heart out and be so passionate about a sport was probably my favorite part about this game and this season,” said Freeman.

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