Volleyball ‘digs’ deep to finish the season


Photo courtesy of @RocketsVBALL on Twitter

RM varsity volleyball team huddles between points to regroup and cheer one another on.

Shelby Roth, Sports Editor

The varsity volleyball team’s season concluded on Nov. 8, after a tough 0-3 loss to Wootton in the regional semifinals. They finished with a 10-6 record, competing in one of the toughest divisions and regions in the county.

The regional semifinal match was a competitive, high-energy game. Both sides of the bleachers were filled with spirited spectators. The sets were competitive, with the lead bouncing back and forth, with Wootton ultimately taking all three sets. 

“The Rockets played well but I don’t feel we lived up to our potential.  They had a pretty good comeback in the second set being down so many points to an undefeated Wootton and able to get much closer,” varsity volleyball head coach Gretchen Barber-Strunk said. “I thought we had a strong play but we weren’t able to utilize everything we needed to in order to win.” 

During the game, the Rockets showed their skilled serves and strong offense. Their communication and connections were shown in their coordinated blocks and defensive calls. The Rockets played until the final point. 

“I was just as proud of how we performed and fought as hard as we could until the absolute end. We put so much effort into that game,” sophomore captain Corrine Howard said. 

The game marks the end of the 2022 season, which for the three seniors was their very last volleyball game wearing the RM black and gold. 

“​That was definitely one of the more emotional parts of the night, reflecting on how it was the seniors’ last high school game,” sophomore captain Ema Djordjevic said. 

While the six losses on the season are not what the Rockets hoped for, the numbers do not reflect all the hard work and grit that went into the season. 

  “I think most of us were hoping for a better record but I do feel like the overall season doesn’t reflect the 6 losses we had,” Barber-Strunk said. “This is a strong team, a young team but an incredibly talented team.”

The team was led by two sophomores, Corrine Howard and Ema Djordjevic. The young leaders stepped up throughout the season, using their experience to guide their teammates. 

 “We had lots of underclassmen show up at times when we needed them on and off the court. Corinne, one of our co-captains, really exemplified that throughout the season,” Djordjevic said. “I’m grateful to have had her by our side, taking a big responsibility as just a sophomore.”

Composed primarily of underclassmen, the volleyball team saw this season as a starting pad to bigger things. The team saw their youth as an opportunity to grow together as a team. 

“We got a lot of new talent this year with our four freshmen, and three new people from last year’s JV who are with us now. Our team is mostly sophomores and freshmen so our talent was kind of raw,” Howard said. “Next year with another year of maturity I think we will excel far more than we did this year.”

Throughout the season, RM proved that they could keep up with the top teams in the county. In their regular season game against the top seed in the region, Wootton, RM played a hard-fought game, pushing the game to five sets. While there were some heartbreaking losses during the season, the team’s commitment and perseverance proved that they could keep up with the best of the best. 

“We had a few challenges throughout the season but I think that for the most part, we were able to work together and overcome them. It made us stronger and I think it will prepare us well for next season,” Djordjevic said. 

With the season over, the Rockets already have their eyes on their next opportunities. They view their season-ending as not a lost opportunity, but rather fuel to propel them to bigger things in the future.

“I hope my team remembers what those big wins feel like and I hope they let the tough losses push them even more. I hope it drives them into next season. I hope the team remembers all the fun we had and how RM volleyball is and will always be a second home for them,” Barber-Strunk said.