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  • Writer's pictureTatiana Chen

The Unstoppable Lady Haws: Girls Volleyball EABH v. PASB

April 5, 6:00PM

With an immense amount of pressure on the Lady Hawks, EABH stood strong against the Pan American School of Bahia’s Panthers, who were coming in fierce. Despite all their amazing work so far, being this the only team that can potentially win EABH gold, meant the expectations placed on our athletes was immeasurable. Before the game, Coach Jill mentioned that the Hawks do not work too well under these amounts of pressure, which may have resulted in the other teams losing their points in the pool early on. 

The game started off with a tie, but it was instantly broken when Marcela Borlido (5), team captain, aced her serve. As the Ladies gained momentum, bringing the game to a 4-3, a chase for points soon began. Laura Prates (22) entered the court to serve but was immediately halted for serving without the referee whistling, a surprisingly common mistake this season amongst all schools. Easily brushing it off, the Lady Hawks focused on keeping the gap open. The points escalated to a 7-6 then a 8-6, leading them to walk full circles in rotation. The gap started opening with spikes from Marcela and Bruna Gontijo (16) straight into the floor of the opposing team’s side. These hits were definitely the Lady Hawks’ biggest strength this match as Lydia Pfile (13), despite being a reserve player, made skillful use of deceiving spikes to the other side, increasing the Lady Hawks’ momentum. Anabella Delgado (25) returned every single ball that came her way to the setter's hand, in perfect assistance to the team’s extremely successful spikes. 

The game tied at 10-10 which brought the crowd to louder cheers to stimulate athletes to flip the game. Gabriela Drumond (06), despite her visible distress playing at such desperate times, received the Panthers’ spikes amazingly. The gap in the points widened once Marcela returned spikes with full strength and Julia Ribeiro (03) aced her serves. Times were tense, but similar to the boys' game prior to this, there was little demonstration of emotion due to the concentration of all of those in the crowd and on the court. Laura had kept a poker face the entire game even when she had touched the net, which caused a point violation, or whenever she made points with her touches. At 13-11, Larissa Ragonessi (18) walked in and instantly made her presence known. The entire team had expected the serve to land closer to the net and thus the entire team approached the front; however, the serve had gone straight to the back, but this unwelcome surprise was instantly saved by Larissa’s jump back and strike of the ball with her forearm above her head. If that was not shocking enough, in the same play the ball returned to Marcela, who scored a point on the Panthers.

The crowd was incredibly impressed by how easily the point went up at 17-12, even with the reserve team playing. Marcela aced two times in a row with her spinning serve, causing the Panthers to stumble around to catch up; the Lady Hawks had them at 20-16. The Panthers had gotten stuck with their points and their motivation. The Panthers allowed their nervousness to get to them, and the set concluded 21-16. 

At the beginning of the second set, the two teams switched sides, as the rules of volleyball go. Bruna was shocked by the team’s initial performance, instantly demonstrating the team’s worry about going to a third set. The points had gone to 0-3---which, in the past, had served as a message of intimidation. More reserve players had gone in, though, and they demonstrated the Lady Hawks’ power regardless of who was playing. Summer Lucier (14) and Carol Bonato (10) were substituted in and the Hawks began scoring even fiercer points. The Panthers were officially scared of their prey as their players made mistakes and allowed the three-point gap to close at 3-4. Gabriela was living proof of the Lady Hawks’ perseverance along with Carol, who made a point with a touch over the net. At 7-8, the Panthers had officially started to demonstrate their stress visibly to their crowd---so much so that those watching began yelling to brush their losses off and try to contribute to flipping the game. Annie Santos (12) had made great use of her iconic spikes to score on the Panthers until there was a point redo because of her strength reaching the line. It was so fast neither referee of both sides could tell if it was in or out. At ten points the score had tied, but the referee began reconsidering the validity of the Panthers’ points because of a carry. The Panthers called for a time-out when the point went to the Hawks. 

Coach Laura and Coach Jill reminded the girls of their strategies and the Panthers’ weaknesses, which was exactly what they went back to focusing on. Annie continued her piercing plays and Laura continued to tip the ball over whenever she could reach the net in her position in the rotation. The points were now at 16-10 as the Panthers began to panic and hit all their balls out of the court regardless of which side it was on. Through aces and spikes by Annie, the score reached 20-11---and, as it had to be, soon after she scored the match point. The second set and game ended at an astounding 21-11, and all of the boys and girls watching joyfully surrounded the players on the court.

Despite the low spirits seen at the beginning of the game due to the pressure the Lady Hawks were under, the girls successfully turned it around and reached the semi-finals. Stay tuned for more live coverage of the games to come!

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