Murray Spartans Set for Success as They Aim for State
Nov 06, 2015 09:56AM ● Published by Bryan Scott
By Sarah Almond
With only three regular matches left in competition, the Murray High School girls volleyball team is rounding out an almost perfect season. Their only loss came to Skyline in mid-September, but they’ve victoriously swept the eight other teams. If the team of 40 players can conquer a win during their second matchup against Skyline on Oct. 20 (after press deadline), they’ll be tied for first place in Region Six.
“During the first day of the Skyline Tournament at the beginning of the season, we had some losses that we really just shouldn’t have had,” head coach Cheryl Jones said. “But the second day, we came back and won every game we played.”
Winning five straight matches during this pre-season competition set the tone the Spartan’s official season.
“Winning those matches really got the girls excited, because they realized we were beating teams that we lost to last year,” Jones said. “We were beating the same teams twice that beat us last year, and that was a highlight for the girls.”
Though the team dynamics and camaraderie have been outstanding this season, Jones faces the challenge of keeping everyone focused and motivated through the state championships. After playing for nearly three months, it’s not uncommon for players to get burned out toward the end of the season.
“We don’t practice on Saturdays because I figure the girls need a break,” Jones said. “But we do practice Monday through Friday starting at 3 p.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. That is unless we have a game, which starts around 3:30 p.m. and doesn’t typically end until 8:30 p.m. or 9 p.m. So it’s really a full-time thing for them.”
Even with the season coming to an end, anyone who watches the girls play will immediately notice the energy and drive coming from the Spartan players. The group is constantly cheering, yelling, laughing and high-fiving, totally infusing the court with vivacity and team spirit.
“Our whole team has really great chemistry this year,” said junior Alarie Anderson. “There’s no drama on the team like last year, and that really helps.”
The team’s camaraderie and motivation on the court is evident: players are constantly communicating with one another, supporting, encouraging and congratulating each other after every play.
“You can tell with how we play,” senior Allison Campbell said. “Just being friends, we can look at each other and know that they’ll get the perfect pass that we need, or swing or set.”
Perhaps this deep-set friendship among the girls comes from practicing with each other virtually year round. Many girls play on the basketball team with one another, and several others are involved in volleyball clubs when the high school season isn’t in session.
“Being together most of the year helps us a lot,” Anderson said. “We know each other’s limits, and we can push each other. We know that if someone’s having a bad day, we can’t push them too far.”
While they respect the limits of their teammates, the Spartans volleyball team knows what it’s going to take to beat Skyline and succeed in the state championships. They’ll need to push their physical boundaries, communicate flawlessly and keep the energy high throughout every match.
“I really think we’re going to do great,” Jones said. “There’s no reason why we shouldn’t.”
The State Championships are being held at the University of Utah and run Nov. 6 and 7. The team held their last home match against Judge Memorial on Oct. 27 at 6 p.m.