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The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

Serve, Set, Spike, Spirit

Credit+to+WIS
Credit to WIS

September 23 marked an important day for the WIS Girls Varsity Volleyball Team. The girls were set to play one of their most competitive matches against Maret, a school outside the PVAC league.

Girls Varsity Volleyball is one of the many teams that feel neglected by WIS’s attention and spirit.When asked as to how many people came to Girls Volleyball games, coach Mr. Loewen responded with “not enough.”  Senior setter Sara Tulloh claims that this might be “because we are so much better than the other schools in our league. Our games are boring.”

The game against Maret was set to be a difficult, and close one. Being one of their tougher opponents for the regular season, the team encouraged the WIS community to fill up the bleachers for the intense match. Senior and three year varsity player Aitana Vargas Llosa advertized the game by posting on the WIS high school facebook group: “we’ve struggled against [Maret] in the past and would really appreciate it if some of you could be there.”

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However, when the game began, there were only a sad seven people in the stands supporting WIS, mostly female friends of the players. This showing was outnumbered by the 25 away fans cheering for Maret. While the supporters tried their best to cheer for WIS girls, they were too few (and a little too high-pitched) to compete against Maret’s big turn out. WIS lost the first set by a margin of 8 points, and the supporters in the WIS stands were taunted by Maret, who chanted “We can’t hear you!”

This turned around quickly in the second set. Girls that were just dismissed from Varsity Soccer practice came to the game to show their support, and were soon followed by a stream of boys who had finished their soccer practices. What were originally weak and awkward chants were strengthened by the new mass of people. The Spirit Coordinator Antonio Musalem Pinto created fun, quirky, and exciting cheers. The volleyball players were relentlessly cheered on by their fans.

As soon as the crowd got bigger, WIS played better. Spikes were more frequent. The cheers were louder. Morale was up. Upon realization that the Maret supporters brought signs that said “Forza,” mocking WIS’s signature chant for their sports, the spirit of the audience rose to an even higher degree. Some of the girls on the Varsity Soccer Team started heckling Maret’s setters, much to the amusement of the crowd but to the chagrin of Mr. Loewen. WIS’s chants were louder and rowdier, motivating the team. .

Driven by the spirit, the WIS Varsity girls started scoring more points, ending the second set with an extremely close loss of 25 to 27. This loss seemed to drive the crowd even wilder. The cheering escalated when Antonio brought down an enormous drum, a show of support that was as outrageous as it was spirited. The drum offered an opportunity for chants that were creative, including a rendition of Seven Nation Army by the White Stripes and a mimicry of Iceland’s memorable celebration from Euro 2016. One loud student from Maret responded with incredulous profanity.

Credit to WIS
Credit to WIS

The girls truly showcased their talents this game. Senior libero Pia Michelitch dove for incredible balls and served several aces. Setter Sara Tulloh was never subbed off and rarely missed a ball. Junior Sophie Almekinders spiked so many balls that it drove WIS’s supporters crazy. Though the team lost the third set 28-25, this was a win for the girls team in many ways. They played a fun game against a competitive team, their show of sportsmanship was outstanding (they huddled and clapped each other on the back after every point), and they had a loud, rowdy crowd supporting them. Mr. Loewen claims that “playing Maret that day improved our game. You could see, at our match against Georgetown Day, how the girls were playing better.”

WIS students enjoyed watching the game as well. When asked about the game, Senior Elisabeth Fix stated that “volleyball is really fun to watch because it’s so fast.” The crowd cheered and supported the girls even when they lost. At their win, Maret started screaming excitedly, and then turned to WIS supporters and waved them off the stands in a combative gesture that was matched by WIS students waving back and blowing kisses at them in mock salutation.

While we ultimately lost on the scoreboard, WIS won in sportsmanship and spirit. The way the players fed off of the supporters cheers shows that all sports at WIS need equal and great support. Hopefully, in the near future, Forza WIS will be cheered at all WIS activities.  

By Yoel Selassie

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