RM girls volleyball falls to Walter Johnson in close game


Photo by Valerie Wang

Girls volleyball plays against Walter Johnson on October 17.

On October 17, the RM girls varsity volleyball team played an intense game against the Walter Johnson Wildcats in one of the longest and closest games of the season. Throughout the entire game, neither team had a significant lead and each point was hard fought. After five sets, each with very close scores, Walter Johnson ultimately won.

The first set started out with a back and forth rally of points, where each side showed enthusiasm and energy. RM started to pull away with a lead and the score was soon 21-14 due to consistent serves and some impressive spikes from junior Laila Rogers. However, a series of fouls from the Rockets, including some double touches, allowed the Wildcats to quickly catch up. At 23-22, with RM in the lead, the servers for both teams were feeling the pressure. Walter Johnson missed their serve, allowing RM to end the set on a strong note with an ace.

The RM girls’ excitement after winning the first set carried on to the next set. “Let’s win this game and have fun,” junior Gabri Puertas said. “We always do better when we’re having fun!”

The second and third sets featured amazing plays from many of the players, including impressive saves from Puertas and junior Kisha Yan. During sets, the coaches used the timeouts to remind the girls to aim for gaps and get the opponents to move around. Despite their efforts, the girls lost both sets by a small margin, as the Wildcats gained momentum. The second set ended with 20-25 and the third set with 23-25.

“I think during the second and third set, we were a bit too relaxed since we thought it would be relatively easy,” Yan said. “But after we lost the third set, the team felt a bit discouraged and we were determined to do better.”

Despite losing the last two sets, the team refused to let the score keep them down. “We know what we can bring and now we know what they’ve got,” said Coach Alex Puertas. “Let’s win this.” After a quick pep talk, the team prepared themselves for the fourth set: a loss in this set would result in a WJ victory. 

Photo credits to Valerie Wang

During the beginning of the set, the teams were completely tied and neither were able to consistently win points. At 11-11, RM stepped up their offense and made more aggressive plays that secured them five points and put them in a good position ahead of WJ. From there, they continued to score points and ended the set on an ace once again with a score of 25-18.

Going into the final set, the teams were tied with two sets each, making the 15-point set the most important one of the game. RM began with a clear lead, but about halfway through, WJ made a dramatic comeback and the game ended with a 8-15 loss for the Rockets. “We have a good offense but we kept hitting at the other players and the ball would mostly go to their hands,” senior Alejandra Mamani said. The WJ players exploited this weakness by aiming for openings between the players, which made it more difficult to get to the ball.

Despite the loss, the RM girls are still determined to continue playing strong, and were proud of their performance at the game. “We played pretty cohesively as a team and we utilized communication skills that we worked and improved on during our practice,” junior Jennifer Li said, “I think we matched the other team’s abilities, but they were really strong.”