Girls varsity volleyball builds a new identity

Adam Bello, Sports Editor

As the playoffs approach, Masters Girls Varsity Volleyball is continuing their dominant season. The Panthers have come into this year with a new mentality and culture around the team. Largely with the help of new head coach, Bai Zhang, better known to the team as Coach Betty. Though they had shown flashes of being a standout team in years prior, Betty gave the team what they needed to cement themselves as a top team in their league. 

The culture and attitude brought to the table by each and every member of the team greatly affects their performance and the team’s success. When talking to Naiyah Jarret, a junior outside attacker, about the difference in the team’s success this year from years prior she said, “I think the coach made a big difference because she just wants to make us better. It’s also about our team dynamic, we’ve bonded so much more this year, really working as a team and being more cohesive.” It seems as if now more than ever, the team is clicking on all cylinders and is ready for a huge run in the playoffs, but the change in coaching wasn’t the only change helping this new team dynamic thrive. 

Senior Captain and division one1 commit Ashleigh Woodruff has taken a huge leadership role for this young team throughout the year. Woodruff has always been a stand out player herself, but the star has found herself flourishing in her role as mentor and leader on the court. Being her fourth year with the program, Woodruff has had to take on new roles each year as well as learn and grow as a leader. She said, “I think I’ve grown a lot, there have been so many players that come and gone from the volleyball program that have all taught me so much.    From the seniors on the team when I was young that have gone to play club at their colleges, to me being a senior, a leader and a captain now I’ve grown a lot.”

The team has an overall record of nine wins and seven losses securing a spot in the FAA playoff starting on November 7th. After a commanding 3-0 victory during the team’s Senior game against Rye Country Day School on October 28th, the team is hoping to capitalize on this momentum going into the playoffs in the coming weeks.