Vixens Cruise Through Season
The Vixens, Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity volleyball team, are dominating their season.
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Tuesday, October 2nd, Stuyvesant High School, Third Floor Gym:
“STUY!!! Heyyy!” The Vixens’ fiery chant pierced through the gym as they huddled together. They had just finished their pre-game warmup, in which they each took turns receiving the ball off a set and spiking it over the net. The girls eased into competition mode; they were loose, confident, and seemed to already exert a mental edge over their opponents.
Senior and co-captain Ally Archer led the team, jogging toward the middle of the gym to exchange high fives with the Bard High School players under the net. Then, as Bard jogged back to their side of the court, Archer led the Vixens back around to high five each of their teammates, firing the whole team up. They gathered in a huddle again and shouted three distinctive words: “Kick Some Butt!”
Sophomore setter Isabel Leka led things off with a hard serve. It was returned but then immediately spiked back over by Senior Victoria Gorelik for a kill shot. This set the tone for the rest of the match; after one upping each other 4-4 in the first set, the Vixens began to take a commanding lead over Bard. They were settled into a rhythm, and there was no stopping them. Communication between the front and back was flawless—each player knew exactly where to be, who to back up, and who to pass to. They moved as one cohesive unit spearheaded by Archer, who landed kill shots left and right, supplemented by the occasional tip over the top.
Bard, on the other hand, had a tough time positioning themselves properly on both offensive and defensive ends. For one, they were often unable to carry out cohesive passing sequences to execute kill shots and had to resort to weakly bumping the ball over. The Vixens’ serves were overwhelming for Bard, too; in both sets, the Vixens compiled 19 aces.
The Vixens won both sets 25-7, shutting down the competition early and decisively. As they played, the Vixens smiled and high fived each other throughout the game. After every play, the players on the court would huddle in for a moment before breaking and preparing for the next play. “The team’s mindset has really improved. The girls play well together. They are supportive of each other and trust one another and are good at discussing any problems on the court and coming to a joint solution all on their own,” coach Vasken Choubaralian said. The encouraging, fun spirit at the core of this team has been proving successful thus far.
After their home victory against Bard, the Vixens won their next four matches: they shut down Washington Irving at home, then beat Lab Museum and Norman Thomas away. Most recently, they beat their rival, Seward Park, for the second time this season, winning both sets.
The Vixens are currently undefeated in league play, totalling nine wins and zero losses. They lead their Manhattan A South/East division and have high hopes for their remaining league matches as well as the playoffs.
While they have been placing at the top in their division, the Vixens have faced some scrimmage losses, including a close match against Brooklyn Technical High School, where both sets resulted in 23-25 defeats, and a loss to Preston High School at a Bronx Science tournament. The team mindset, however, is to gain from these losses, focusing their practice regimen on whatever they need to work on most for their upcoming match. In anticipation of their upcoming tournament this Sunday, senior and co-captain Hanah Jun said, “We’ve been working on covering hitters when they attack, making sure we have our weight forward so we can move forward easily, and making sure all of the defensive roles are in place. We also have the hitters working on hitting more difficult shots like deep corners down the line and strategically placed tips.”
This Vixens team is definitely worth following. In many ways, they are stronger than they ever have been—the team is led by dedicated, encouraging captains Ally Archer and Hanah Jun. They have a wide reserve of skilled junior and sophomore players, not only to start but also sub in. “I really think all of the new starters this year have been a tremendous contribution. Each one was so eager to finally play and have worked really hard the last couple of years in preparation,” Choubaralian said. After being upset in the second round as the second seed in last year’s playoffs, this strong core will look to carry the team much farther than before.