After a season during the pandemic that forced volleyball players out onto the tennis courts for practice, the Girls Junior Varsity Volleyball team at Concord Academy finally made their return to the Student Health and Athletic Center (SHAC) gym this fall, starting off the season with high spirits and strong records. Led by captains Maia Monahan ’23 and Marly Kasdon ’24, the team this year consists of 15 players in total, with one ninth-grader, ten tenth-graders, two juniors, and two seniors. 

Girls JV Volleyball started off the season with a brilliant home victory against Beaver Country Day School with a final score of 2-0. They followed up this success with another win against the Landmark School at home, where they defeated their opponent at home with 2-0 once more! In the team’s first away game, they played against Newton Country Day School (NCDS), a particularly demanding opponent due to the team’s long-lasting connection and experience formed in the players’ middle school careers. However, JVVB refused to let this challenge daunt them, eventually finishing the game with a decisive 2-0 win. 

When asked about what attributed to the team’s successes at the start of this season, Head Coach Jeff Desjarlais explained, “In JV Volleyball, it’s vital to be good at the skill the other team isn’t great at. So, if you can serve really well and the opposite team can’t return it, you’re going to win. That’s where we’ve had our strength. [Numerous players] on our team basically have varsity-level serves, so if they are serving well through a game, we are usually going to be okay.” 

After watching amongst a crowd of impassioned CA cheerleaders in the game against Landmark, all the viewers in the sidelines were indeed able to observe numerous instances where strong, assertive serves coming from our servers caught the opponents off-guard. Along with solid teamwork and passes, the serves immensely expanded their valuable chance for the team to grasp onto the wins for each of the sets. 

After experiencing consecutive successes in the first three games of the season, JVVB encountered their first loss against the Governor’s Academy with a tight score of 1-2. In their most recent away game against Dana Hall, another distinctly challenging opponent, the team lost 0-2. Similar to NCDS, the majority of Dana Hall players have been practicing with each other since their pre-pandemic middle school years, but CA still fought through with determination, ending the second match with a close 19-25 score. 

As the second half of the season approaches, Desjarlais also discussed the possible improvements JVVB could make to build up a consistently positive outlook for future matches. He quoted the Girls Varsity Volleyball Head Coach, Darren Emery, “If you can pass, you can play.” He further commented that just about any volleyball team could always work on improving their passing skills, and that certainly applies to our JV team. 

As it turns out, the two initial setbacks they experienced did not dampen their spirit, and the team’s hard work during practices paid off in their most recent game during Family Weekend against Pingree School, where they secured a solid 2-0 home win. As the season progresses, the CA community can certainly look forward to watching the JV team’s continuous growth, bonding, successes, as well as their never-ending cheers for each other on the courts with soaring enthusiasm and energy.