Saturday, October 18, 2008

REPORTER BLOG: A Winning Attitude

Brianna Savoca

Splashes of green and blue filled the bleachers. Parents on the stands next to me cheered for their daughters. Fans yelled, "Let's go Bulldogs!"

The excitement in the gym was contagious as the Athens Varsity Volleyball team stepped on the court.

It was the sectional game of the state high school volleyball tournament- Athens versus Chillicothe.

The Athens Bulldogs entered the tournament with a 11-11 record. However, the Bulldogs were a young team with only two seniors.

Since the state tournament is single-game elimination, the sectional game could potentially be the two seniors' last high school volleyball game ever.

"A New League, A New Legacy"
This year, the Athens Bulldogs switched to the Tri-Valley Conference, or TVC.

Optimistic about the change, "A New League, A New Legacy" was written on the back of the volleyball team's shirts.

"Well your school only changes leagues once every 85 years," Senior volleyball player Emily Fox said. "We knew this was something really special. And we wanted to use that as an incentive to push us through the season."

The Outcome
The Athens Bulldogs lost to Chillicothe after only three periods, putting an end to their 2008 season.

"I was crying in the locker room," Victoria Reagan, the second senior volleyball player, said. "It's really sad. It's bittersweet, but I know they're going to do awesome next year. I just wish I could be a part of it."

"We hit some bumps. We had a lot of good times. A lot of laughs, a lot of cries," Coach Kelli Dyer said. "But you know we're family, we're gonna stick together, and next year people better look out.

Becoming a Bulldog
After sitting in the stand with volleyball players' moms, dads, and other family members, I felt like I was becoming a Bulldog. I saw the look of disappointment on everyone's faces first-hand. I interviewed the players, the coaches, and the parents.

It was obvious everyone cared a lot about the game. Family and friends showed up to cheer on the team. The players and coaches supported each other and despite the loss, stayed positive throughout the game.

It's hard not to feel bad for the Athens High School volleyball team's season ending.

"They were excited and ready to win," Cindy Carlson, one mother said. "They really wanted to keep going."

Words of Wisdom
Winning isn't everything, and I can see the Athens Bulldogs care about more than having a perfect record. After having just lost a game and ending the season, everyone at the game still had a positive attitude about next year's season.

"Since it was our last game, that was hard to deal with," Emily Fox said. "But I know that they’ll do really well next year."

"I think they’ll be great," Cindy Carlson said. "They’ll be awesome next year."

"Pretty soon we’re gonna be a top team that people want to beat," Coach Dyer said.

After reflecting on her experience with the volleyball team, senior Victoria Reagan said she did not want team members to be discouraged by the loss against Chillicothe.

I asked her if there was any advice she'd give to her younger teammates, and she shared this piece of advice with me.

"Just believe in yourselves because honestly that’s really what it comes down to, Reagan said. "It’s just knowing that you can do it. And that you will do it."

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