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International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

The Student News Site of Washington International School

International Dateline

WIS Boys Varsity Volleyball Team: Time to Rebuild

From left to right: Freshman Lorenzo Ricci, junior Alex Wiseman, freshman Ben Galbraith, junior Jack Merz, junior Aarav Mithani and freshman Nico Murnick. (Courtesy of Sarah Murphy)

After the basketball season concluded, walking into the Hall of Peace meant passing a quiet, empty gym. Now, the gym is full of freshmen and juniors blasting music while polishing their volleyball skills in practice. The boys varsity volleyball rebuilding season has begun.

Even though the school rarely recognizes the sport, the volleyball players still show up, ready to revamp their team and prepare for playoffs. This year, their goal is to rebuild the team, as last season, in the spring of 2022, it was primarily composed of seniors who have since graduated. 

Additionally, the former coach, Kaler Hürcan, moved away for the next two years. With freshmen rising in to fill the ranks of last year’s seniors, someone also has to take on the position of coach. At Hürcan’s request, Coach Sarah Williams has assumed the role.

Williams has been coaching volleyball for two and a half years, although she had previously coached younger children in other sports, such as T-ball. Coaching has been a very influential part of her life mainly because, as a teenager, she had negative experiences with many of her own coaches.

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“What really inspired me [to start coaching] is that I had terrible coaches growing up that were demotivating and sometimes unkind,” Williams said. “They took a very old school approach where you can be tough on kids, and they rise to the occasion.”  

Instead of sticking to old school approaches, which often can end up tearing student-athletes down, Williams focuses on positive encouragement and ensuring that students learn the fundamentals of the game. 

In her youth, Williams excelled at volleyball in the setter position. “I’ve always loved volleyball,” Williams said. “I like that you have to create a dynamic with five other people to be successful. And as an extrovert, that always felt really good to me to work together as a team.” 

Williams aims to create an optimistic and determined team. “I hope that [the team] feel more confident in themselves and their ability to do hard things,” Williams said.

WIS’s boys volleyball team is composed of 10 freshmen, many of whom began playing volleyball this year, and three juniors. 

Even as a freshman and first-year player, Ben Galbraith has earned the position of setter, which is rare for any underclassman. “Being a setter is one of the most difficult positions in volleyball, as they are crucial to every play and point that occurs,” Galbraith said.

Galbraith was driven to join the team after playing volleyball recreationally during lunches and breaks and because of the team’s positive dynamic.

On April 12, the team had their first win of the season. “It was really good to finally win,” Galbraith said. 

Junior and co-captain Aarav Mithani felt the win was due to a strong connection that the team established during the game. “​We got in this rhythm, and at the end, there’s nothing that beats that feeling of victory,” Mithani said. 

While the ninth graders are all new blood, the three juniors, Jack Merz, Aarav Mithani and Alex Wiseman, are veteran players, having played volleyball on the WIS team for several years. All three players emphasize the team dynamic and how it is such a crucial component of the sport. 

“We have a good bond, we’re funny, we’re goofy at the right times, but we are also serious,” Mithani said. “We know when to work and when to play.” 

Wiseman added that what makes volleyball unique, compared to other sports he competes in, is its emphasis on working as a team. 

“Volleyball is a sport where you must rely on your teammates and trust your teammates to work well,” Wiseman said. “[Collaboration is] a huge part of the sport, and I really enjoy that.”

All three juniors have highlighted that this is their rebuilding year, and they hope to return strong during their last year at WIS. While helping the team to win games, they bring individual goals to this season, such as perfecting jump-float serves and mastering settings. 

In the eyes of co-captain Merz, the team has a crucial goal for the remainder of the season. “We’re gonna keep up that momentum and win every single game in the rest of the season and move on to the playoffs, baby,” Merz said. 

By Elektra Gea-Sereti and Leonardo Sarzi Braga

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About the Contributors
Elektra Gea-Sereti
Elektra Gea-Sereti, Opinions Editor
Hi my name is Elektra and I am a senior plus the Opinions editor. I have been at Dateline since 9th grade, and my opinion articles range from social media trends to movie reviews. While not being opinionated can be strenuous, I do write the occasional sports, features, and food article. Outside of Dateline, you can find me on the volleyball court, or debating people in Mock Trial. 
Leonardo Sarzi Braga
Leonardo Sarzi Braga, Multimedia Publications Editor

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