Patriots close out season strong, prepare for district finals

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The Patriots look to continue their success and secure their spot at regionals with a win on Thursday, Oct. 15. (Photo/Coach Moreau)

The varsity girls volleyball team closed out the regular season this past weekend with back-to-back wins Friday (Oct. 9) and Saturday (Oct. 10) to clinch a 4-6 record heading into the district finals.

After starting off the season 0-4, the Patriots went 4-2 on the final six-game stretch, winning their third game of the year with Friday’s win versus Somerset Pembroke Pines on Senior Night. The team finished each set with scores of 25-21, 25-15 and 25-14 while celebrating seniors Elisa Carrillo, Juliana Holifield and Yakira Wardlaw. On the night, the Patriots had 26 kills, 15 service aces and seven stuff blocks in three sets.

“It was a tumultuous spring and summer trying to figure out if we could have a season and still keep everyone safe,” head coach Lisa Moreau said. “When we finally got the go-ahead from the administration, it was a relief, but that’s when the real work began of trying to get players to agree to distance learn and wear masks at practice. We have a lot of very academically focused student-athletes, but most of them were able to distance learn during our season, and we are so happy they did. We had a very special Senior Night for some very special seniors this year.”

The Patriots continued their momentum the following morning, where they secured another win versus the St. Brendan team in the last regular season match with scores of 14-25, 25-15, 25-14 and 25-22. The team had 41 kills, 10 service aces and five stuff blocks in four sets in the victory.

The win marked the final one of the regular season, as the Patriots, after overcoming a slow start to the year, now begin to prepare for the district finals.

“At the start of the season, it was extremely difficult having to rework our entire schedule, but I was able to get some strong teams for us to play to help us prepare for districts and regionals,” Coach Moreau said. “Yes, we started off the season slow. Since we lost about 1/3 of our season due to starting late, we didn’t have much time to get the team prepared like we normally would have done before our first match. We also have some very versatile players and had to try people in different positions and rotations to see where we had the strongest lineup, so a good number of our earlier matches were mostly about us trying different lineups and working things out.”

Full of confidence after closing out the season with a 4-2 run, Coach Moreau understands what the team needs to focus on as the playoffs near.

“We’ve been going through a lot of higher-level strategy and understanding of the game, what we call Volleyball IQ, throughout the season, and we know our players know what to do,” Coach Moreau said. “They just need to bring the fire and passion to play all-out, really go after our opponent, and execute our game plan of constantly attacking while keeping errors low. Our last match showed our team is capable of that which means we are capable of winning districts, and we are looking forward to Thursday’s match.”

The Patriots (4-6) will clash with Archbishop McCarthy (6-2) for the district finals Thursday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. with a ticket to the regional quarterfinals on the line.

Sammy Rosenthal is a senior at American Heritage School in Plantation Fla. and is entering his fourth year writing for the newsmagazine; his second year as the publication’s Sports Editor. Sammy takes pride in being a die-hard Miami Heat and Dolphins fan as well as dedicating his Sunday to watching football.

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