Girls Volleyball Takes on Las Vegas

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Phil Colla

The bell rang to let school out last Thursday, Aug. 28th, and the girls volleyball team and I headed to two vans in the front of the school rolling our suitcases behind us as if at the airport.  We all packed into the vans, our hands filled with our books and anything we could imagine we would need in Las Vegas for the invitational tournament. This was the first year SDA has been invited to attend.

We prepared for the five-hour car ride throwing candy, snacks and plenty of homework into the van to do. Luckily we overstocked, for soon the five hours turned into seven with bumper to bumper traffic for almost half of the drive.

When we first arrived in Vegas, the bright lights of the strip welcome us; everyone was filled with excitement and nerves. We all hung out together in our rooms, four girls per room with no chaperone; one can only imagine that none of us got any sleep the first night.

In the morning, we woke up, piled back into the vans and blasted the radio as we head to the venue. We arrived, found our court, and the games began.

Coming from a small school, in Encinitas, a town most Nevadans have never heard of, we had nothing to lose and no expectations to live up to. We didn’t know about any of the teams except a league rival, Mission Vista, which also happened to be invited to this tournament as well, The Las Vegas Invitational.

It could’ve been the excitement of Vegas or our first game together but we played with incredible energy. Every play one could hear cheers coming from the bench and after every play the girls on the court would come together to celebrate the point won or to discuss the point lost.  Without even realizing it, we were already on our way to the end of our first game of the season, which happened to also be our first win. That day, we came out of pool play undefeated surprising ourselves and everyone around us.  We thought to ourselves, we might actually have a chance of doing well, little did we know we would do better than well.

When we all got back into the vans and headed back to the hotel, the excitement began subside as we all turned to our phones and social media exploding over the Steve Aoki concert at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. As we all watched the dozen of snap chats, one of Steve Aoki’s most famous song came on the radio, Boneless, and we decided to have a concert of our own. We turned up the music, downloaded an app of a strobe light and had our own fun. Of course, nothing can compare to a live concert, however, we did our best. We all hated having to miss the concert but sometimes you have to give up one experience for another.

The alarm clock went off at 630am, calling all of us from our beds to the court. The same events of the day before repeated themselves as we headed to the same venue as we were just at. Coincidentally, we were placed on the same court as before and the day begins with another win. To us, Court 2 had then superstitiously become our lucky court.

As the day continued, we made it out of the second day of pool play undefeated once again and then all of a sudden with two more wins, both of which were very close we found ourselves in the finals.

A school, which half the teams there couldn’t even pronounce the name of, would be coming up against the Nevada state Champions for the title of Las Vegas Invitational Champions. Although we would go on to lose the very close game therefore receiving a second place trophy, we celebrated as if we had won. Taking pictures holding the trophy, cheering and the hundreds of hugs we gave each other, we were more excited than the first place team. Everyone expected them to win, no one expect us to come so close, and the accomplishment was huge. It gave us a lot of confidence for the games to come and more motivation to work hard at practices. We now have a target on our backs. After the last picture was taken, the coach of the Nevada team asked us if we were one of the best teams in California. Little did he know we are actually ranked somewhere in the hundreds.

Overall, the trip was incredibly successful and all of us can’t wait for the first home game. We all hope after the success of our first tournament to have a big outcome of student support at our first home game, Sept. 9th at 5 p.m. against Carlsbad.