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  • Writer's pictureThe Daily Hawk

EABH v. OLM -- The Lady Hawks Deliver the Performance of Their Lives in the Volleyball Semifinals

April 6th, 4:00 pm

Widely considered EABH’s rivals, OLM (Our Lady of Mercy) went against the Lady Hawks on April 6th. On previous ISSLs, EABH and OLM disputed for first place in the girls’ volleyball category, with EABH winning last year and OLM prior to that. This year, however, both teams met in the semi-finals instead, and this game determined who went to the finals. Everything was at stake, and both teams would have to play their best for a shot at winning gold. Since this was possibly one of the most nerve-wracking games of the season, all other EABH athletes anxiously filled the bleachers to support the Lady Hawks.

The first point went to EABH, kickstarting the game on a positive note. However, OLM did not fall behind and scored the next two points. But the Lady Haws were not willing to allow for the establishment of a large advantage, and with a beautiful save from libero Mariana Lanna (13), the score tied at  2-2, promising a competitive game. The Lady Hawks remained calm despite the pressure that this match brought, and continued to maintain consistency and organization on the following points, which eventually allowed them to recover their advantage. The crowd was also organizing itself with different cheers according to specific plays and players’ performances. An ace from the volleyball captain Marcela (05) awarded EABH the next point. 

Soon the score reached 6-4, and each team scored two more points. At 8-6 came the most impressive play so far, with both Marcela and Mariana diving to save the ball and the Hawks scoring after a long dispute. Another beautiful point later on came from the co-captain Annie Santos (12), hitting a spike on the sideline. Despite excellent performances, however, OLM slowly caught up to the Lady Hawks. The score reached 11-11 and led to another very long play that EABH did not win this time around---and with that, the Lancers took the lead. With the score of 11-12, the coaches requested a timeout. Insofar the Lady Hawks had kept their energy high, celebrating every point won and reaching out to their teammates after every point lost. 

The Lady Hawks came back strong from break, with an immediate spike from Marcela leading to another tie in the score---but that did not last long: with a beautiful serve from Anna Pulga (04) and another spike from Marcela, EABH scored another point. The Lancers scored the next two points, turning the score, but soon the Lady Hawks caught up to their rivals once more, taking points from 13-14 to 15-14. 

At this point, however, the OLM crowd began demonstrating incredibly poor sportsmanship, as the students started booing the Lady Hawks, cheering for their mistakes, and clearly communicating a desire for them to get hurt. A series of hateful comments lowered the Hawks’ energy, and OLM took that opportunity to get the upper hand and reach a score of 16-18. The coaches requested another timeout while the EABH crowd did its best to help the players regain their enthusiasm. 

The Hawks reentered the court with their heads held high but were unable to score new points, and soon the score was at 16-20: a setpoint. Despite the tense environment, the Lady Hawks did not give up, and with a dive from Marcela to save the ball, they scored the first point since the timeout. The next point also went to EABH, with a beautiful serve from Annie. Meanwhile, the OLM crowd’s unwillingness to play fair and be respectful continued to impact the EABH players, and they started booing as Annie prepared to serve. Annie, however, demonstrating incredible mental fortitude, did not let that get to her and not only got the serve in but aced it. Following that rise from the ashes and with an impressive spike from Brunna Gontijo (16), the Lady Hawks close the gap in the score, saving three match points and taking points to 19-20. 

Annie prepared to serve again with unceasing booing coming from OLM. Despite that, she served beautifully once more, and after the Hawks blocked a spike from the Lancers, the score tied at an incredibly 20-20. Before the game proceeded, however, the OLM players started a discussion about the validity of the last point with the referee, who withheld his decision to side with EABH. 

The game resumed and with the disruptive noise becoming increasingly louder, OLM won the next point by forcing the Hawks into missing the serve. The Hawks scored another point but again missed the serve and soon the score tied again at 22-22. Lydia Pfile (13) prepared to serve and scored a point to EABH with an ace. She served again, and OLM returned the ball, which Marcela quickly spiked. There was a moment of hesitation, as the referee had not announced the score and both teams claimed the point. Finally he spoke up and announced that the briliant play had hit the sideline, which put the score at 24-22 favorably to EABH. It was setpoint. 

Lydia served calmly what could be the last point of the first set. OLM returned it but the girls showed great teamwork and organization and continued to calmly play until the Lancers made a mistake and the ball did not reach EABH’s side. It was the end of a tumultous first set, despite attempts from an aggressive crowd to take away our players’ unending focus and determination. 

The Lady Hawks came back confidently to the court after the timeout, scoring the first two points. OLM was able to score once but soon EABH took control again with an ace from Macela. The next point ended with an amazing spike from Brunna, which was followed by another one from Marcela. Brunna invincibly scored the next two points for EABH with another two spikes, putting the score at 5-1. Tension was high and the OLM crowd had finally deflated; the room was silent as Marcela prepared to serve. She, unfortunately, missed the serve, and the room was so quiet that her verbal demonstration of frustration was heard by all, earning chuckles from the audience. 

With some minor mistakes from the Lady Hawks, OLM was able to regain some trust, and with some serves difficult to defend from, the score reached an uneasy 6-5. A skillful spike from Brunna, who had been performing astoundingly well, earned EABH another point, but soon OLM tied the score at 9-9. After a long point, with many difficult saves and skilful spikes, OLM took the lead at 9-10. 

With pressure high, the Lady Hawks lost the next points mostly for a lack of communication. Annie did her best to help EABH recover, and on the next point, she both received the serve and returned the ball to OLM. With that, the Hawks scored and Marcela prepared to serve---and aced it, making the score 12-13. Brunna brought the game to a tie with yet another spike, but OLM recovered their advantage, and with the score at 13-17, the EABH coaches requested a timeout.

After the return of the break, OLM scored the next three points, putting them at set point. The Lady Hawks were now calmer and took their time, passing the ball until the opportunity for Brunna to spike came along and was successfully taken. EABH scored the next point, but in the following one Marcela’s spike was met with a successful OLM block, winning the opposing team the second set at 14-21. 

The sets were now tied, and the game continued into the tiebreaker third, which was fiercely competitive from the start. The score quickly went fom 1-1 to 2-2, but the Lady Hawks took the lead again with more spikes from Brunna and Marcela. An ace from Marcela puts the score at 5-2. OLM scored the next point, and EABH follows with yet another spike from Brunna. The teams score another point each and the score reached 7-4. With an impressive serve from Annie, followed by a great block from Lydia, EABH continued to lead the third set. At 9-6, Brunna aced her serve, and the crowd went absolutely crazy. The next point was guaranteed by Annie, with an impossible spike. The coaches asked for a timeout at the score of 11-6, of which EABH returns with another ace from Brunna. Both teams scored two more points, putting the score at 13-8, and Marcela scores the next point to EABH. 

Now at 14-8, the Lady Hawks only needed a single point to win the match and advance to the finals. At that time the coaches asked for another timeout, which only increased the anxiety of the audience and players. They returned to the court and Anna Pulga prepared to serve at the sound of the EABH crowd yelling “só mais um”. The ball went up, then across, and then down, unbothered. She ended the game on the most perfect note, with a final ace. The game ended with a third set score of 15-8 and the teachers and students of EABH swarmed on the court, jumping, yelling, and celebrating with the players who keep on shouting: “Vamos pra final”.

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