Varsity Volleyball successfully juggles exams and tournament play

Leading up and into November exams, the Varsity Volleyball team participated in the New England Class B Tournament (“New England’s”), and made it the farthest the volleyball team has in Dana Hall history.

The Varsity Volleyball team consists of three seniors, four juniors, three sophomores, and four freshmen. The team this year has seemed to be strong as they were the second in Eastern Independent League (EIL), and made it all the way to the finals of the New England Class B tournament. Middle hitter Courtney Clayson ’18 says, “I think that we put our all into the last three games. Although we didn’t win, considering how far we got, shows our persistence to do the best we could.”

To be eligible to play in New England’s, a team must be ranked in the top eight; Dana Hall was sixth. The first game was on November 18 against The Governor’s Academy. Captain Caroline Heiland ’16 was doubtful: “I thought, ‘oh this will be a fun last game even if we do get crushed; it’s an accomplishment to even be in New England’s.” Governor’s had beaten Dana Hall before, and the players still had this in mind. Dana Hall lost the first game, but they came back winning the second and third sets. Governor’s took the fourth set, which took them into a tie breaker, a game only to fifteen points. Dana Hall won the final set and headed to the semi-finals.

The semi-finals were held at Dana Hall on Saturday, November 21, following the morning exams. Buildings and Grounds cleared out all of the tables in the Shipley Center once morning exams finished, and the afternoon conflict exams were moved to the Lecture Hall. Dana Hall played Ethel Walker and came out on top, winning 3-1. Many fans came out to support the volleyball team. Winning this game meant that the Varsity Volleyball team was headed off to the finals.

The finals of both Class B and Class A tournaments were held at Loomis Chaffee in Connecticut. Dana Hall played Pomfret after their two-hour drive. Dana Hall has lost by a lot to Pomfret both times they have played them in the past two years. In the finals, Dana Hall won the first two sets but then lost the last three games.

Assistant coach Joe Hanrahan was happy with the outcome: “Our girls gave that game everything they had. We played a tough team; both teams fought until the end, and we never gave up. We are proud of our girls for everything they have done this year.”

Heiland was diagnosed with a concussion after the team got back to Dana Hall. She hit her head on the gym floor during the first rally of the game between Pomfret and Dana, yet fellow team member Natasha Joukousky ’18 says “she still persevered and played her best the entire game.”

The season went almost two weeks longer than originally projected, but head coach Graham Masiiwa says “the girls always gave it their all.” The Dana Hall Varsity Volleyball team was a New England Class B Finalist, and were awarded with a trophy.

Team member Libby Frambes ’17 has a positive outlook: “The game didn’t turn out as we had hoped, but we all grew as a team, and we’re just as proud as if we had won.” The team looks forward to next year and are going to miss the seniors.

Photo credit: Adam Richins.

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