The Very Special Volleyball Team

Liam S, Columnist

This year, the 8th grade volleyball team is actually a combined team of 8th and 7th grader boys. There have been a lot of questions about how the 8th grade and 7th grade teams will perform given that they will be up against teams composed of 8th graders alone. It all starts with Coach Eli, a former high school volleyball player turned volleyball coach who has said, “the 8th graders have more talent, but the 7th graders have more experience, which will provide a great mix.”

Coach Eli was a great volleyball player in his day, helping his team win the high school conference. He goes on to explain “This team [the 7th & 8th grade boys] is in a promising state; if we work on the technical things we can be a really solid team.” Timmy, a volleyball player on the team, agrees, saying, “I think we are an alright team; if we improve passing to the setter, we can be so much better.”

Even one father of a player on the team, who watches every game, says, “I think they have a shot to make it.” There is clearly a ton of hype around the team, but the question remains: Can they live up to the hype and compete well this season?

Their coach certainly thinks so. Coach Eli claims, “The hitters have a lot of talent and the setters are improving,” so “if the boys improve, they can be a threat in the Seton.” 

Despite missing out on two years of volleyball due to the pandemic, the team has a ton of expectations growing around them, and with plenty of new teammates coming together, there is much potential as well.. However, player Timmy says, “I don’t think the mix will matter too much, but it may affect both grades” especially with the size advantage of other teams.

Right now the team isn’t performing very well, but as Eli said, the players can improve and they can make it to the Seton in the end. “The team will perform on [an] upward trajectory, I believe,” says one player’s dad. The last time an 8th grade team made the Seton was two years ago when the team made the top four and earned a banner, which hangs in the gym. That was a historic performance as the St. Robert boys have only gotten a banner a few times in their long history. However, that accomplishment will hopefully not put too much pressure on this year’s. Player Timmy worries, “It may put pressure on the less mature players.”

The question of how they will perform this season remains. The team’s strengths are pretty clear: the chemistry between the players and the hitting by the 8th graders creates a ton of potential. However, “The passing to the setter has been inconsistent,” says Coach Eli, “but it can improve.” To be better in league play and get to the Seton Tournament, they need to improve anyway they can and work at each practice to develop their skills.

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