Vixens Look to Defend City Champions Title

The Vixens are determined to defend their title as city champions, and they also deal with a new starting lineup.

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Anaïs Delfau’s historic kill concluded the Vixens’(Stuyvesant’s girls’ varsity volleyball team), 2018 season, and the team secured their first-ever PSAL City Championship. Now as the team prepares for the 2019 season, they hope to uphold their title as city champions. Their memorable win came from a combination of long practice hours, mainly senior lineup, and strong chemistry that the Vixens aim to maintain this year. Even with the departure of five key seniors, the Vixens are confident that they can replicate the season that helped lead them to the city title.

The team, like others, have their own share of fierce competitors. Hunter High School, in particular, is a potential challenge as they were the Vixens’ opponents in the City Championship game. Senior blocker Hillary Zeng had 61 kills and 17 blocks last season, which made her one of the biggest threats on the Hunter Hawks. Another senior of their team, Fiona Hung, also had her share of statistics as a setter, with 30 aces, 30 digs, and 131 assists. With Hunter’s eyes on the crown, along with the presence of the Vixens’ other rivals such as NYC Lab School for Collaborative Studies, Seward Park High School, and Brooklyn Technical High School, keeping the momentum won’t be easy.

Last year’s starting lineup was led by two passionate captains in Hanah Jun (‘19) and Ally Archer (’19); co-captain senior Corinne Pita and co-captain junior Anaïs Delfau are determined to keep that fiery spirit alive. Coach Vasken Choubaralian is confident in his new captains, as they both have additional experience playing club volleyball. “They are natural leaders who stay positive and energetic no matter what,” Coach Choubaralian said. In addition to senior Catherine Yu and a handful of juniors like setter Isabel Leka returning from last year’s roster, the team has many underclassmen who are looking to break into the starting lineup. Pita calls this a “big relief because that means there’s a solid base of players for the years to come.” Even though the newer and younger players are usually expected to work on perfecting their skills and join the starting lineup later, Pita feels that some of the freshmen are ready to become starters with the right amount of grit and hard work.

The Vixens hope to continue developing team chemistry while learning the importance of bonding. “The reason our team rose to the top last year wasn’t just because of our amazing players; it was also because for the first time in our history, everyone trusted one another on and off the court,” Pita said. “That was the key to our success.” Delfau’s approach to bonding also starts with fostering team culture in every player, “so that they are not only playing for themselves but also playing for their teammates,” she said. The captains and veterans hope to encourage the younger players and keep up the same tenacity they showed last season.

As far as the pressure to defend the championship title from last year goes, Pita does feel the weight of the Vixens’ legacy on her shoulders as co-captain, but she is optimistic about her teammates’ performance. Delfau agrees, but notes, “[The pressure] is only as much as we put on ourselves and the team. We can only hope for each player to do their best and help bring the team goals to fruition.” Coach Choubaralian’s stance is a bit different; he does not believe that winning is as important. “I want to make sure I keep the elements of having fun and feeling like a family. The challenge is always to help them reach their potential,” he said.

The Vixens are looking forward to the upcoming season and have many tournaments and scrimmages set up to get reps in before the competitive season begins. Their first PSAL match will be against Lab Museum United on September 20. They are ready to defend their crown and hopefully keep it on for another year.