Girls’ Volleyball has record-breaking season

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Contributed Photo

The team gathers together for a pre-game pep talk.

Katie Walsh, Editor-in-Chief

For the first time in DHS history, the girls’ volleyball team this year beat Darien with a match score of 3 sets to 1 set. It was the first time the Lady Hatters had even won a set over Darien in about 20 years.

   Reaching that milestone was “one of those indescribable moments when there’s so much emotion, excitement and thrill, that’s it’s amazing,” exclaimed senior Megan Mercer.

   Coach John MacMillan, who has been coaching here for 12 years, was “so happy for the girls” in revealing that they were not intimidated by Darien’s winning history.

   The Hatters, led by captains Mercer, Catrina Sullivan and Emily Greiner, are currently leading the west division of the FCIACs and has an overall record of 9-2.

This team is different than my other three years because we’ve all played together since freshman year. This team has a trust in each other that we’ve never had before.”

— Shea Mcnamara

   A key to their success comes from the captains and the superior senior leadership of the team. MacMillan calls his captains “outstanding players and outstanding students,” acknowledging the work and effort they put in during the offseason.

   Sullivan, who has been nominated for player of the week twice, relates being a captain to being a parent. “It’s basically like being a mom, my teammates are my children. I love them so much and I want to see them do great.”

   MacMillan also commends the ability of the seniors to include the underclassman on the team because to be successful, a team needs to work well together as a unit.  He stressed the importance of communication. Not only does the team  work on the skill in the gym, but outside the gym as well through cookouts and pasta parties.

   Senior Shea Mcnamara acknowledges the comradery, stating, “This team is different than my other three years because we’ve all played together since freshman year. This team has a trust in each other that we’ve never had before.”

   Their comradery is highlighted through their bizarre pre-game warmup that leaves other teams and students staring. Rather than running warm-ups, the team gathers in a circle and screams pandega, which stands for “frog dance” in Portuguese, with each player engaging in their own various dance moves.                          

    The captains have an additional pre-game circle in which Mercer speaks words of inspiration. She expresses the importance to bring intensity, energy and fight.

   Mercer reveals that on the court the captains “stress a lot of positivity and the fighting spirit.” She revealed that, “It’s important for us captains to always stay strong and never bring the team down. [We need to always] bring them [the team] up.”

     These words are manifested from their coach’s philosophy.  Mcnamara comments on his  [coach’s] words of advice after a mistake is made. “Mistakes are inevitable and that once you make a mistake, don’t dwell on it. Just make sure you get the next one because we all make mistakes”.

  This team aspires to give to their coach what he gives to them is how Mcnamara sees it. “This team [being so] successful [is] because we want to give back to coach. We want to show that Mac is a great coach and we believe in each other. That’s our drive to excel and continue to win for both coach and ourselves.”

  This group of players has a will to succeed. “Our fighting spirit keeps us motivated; we have a lot of talent and drive,” Mercer said. “We are all hungry for success and to win. Whenever something happens and we got knocked down we always rebound stronger.”

   MacMillan, a retired teacher, indicated that the most rewarding part of coaching volleyball is the growth the girls show from freshman to senior year both as a player and and a person.

  Sullivan finds the heart and passion of this team to be its reason for success,

“We aren’t a team with extremely good players,” Sullivan said. “But we have a team that has so much energy that builds our montemun and that is what helps us win.”