Gar-Field's volleyball team may very well be the shortest group in the Cardinal District this season, however, in a game such as volleyball in which size does matter, the Indians are determined to prove to opponents that they are not to be underestimated. With a record of 2-2 thus far, Gar-Field is forcing teams to take notice.
“You're going to see that all season; we have no height on our team,” said first year head coach Kelli Wilson. “Our tallest girl on the team is our middle blocker [Day'ona Bowden] and she's out with an ankle injury. Our whole team is young, we only have three returning varsity players, so it's been a difficult and challenging ride.”
Because Gar-Field lacks tall players, they rarely have strong kill shots, which forces teams to play back away from the net, and even slows down the game tempo.
“[During time outs] I usually tell them to pick it up,” said Wilson. “That's been our challenge this year, getting that fire under their belt, getting that motivation and drive, so that when they walk in this gym they let the other team know that we're gonna bring it. I want them to be more intimidating. Even though they're short, I want them to let the other team know that we have the talent and we will win. I have total faith in them.”
One area in which Gar-Field excels is defense. Their inability to consistently block shots at the net allows them to sit back and dig their opponents kill shots. Last week, in the game against Woodbridge (who is known for their hard hitting), Kiera Reyes and Jasmine Swanger had 35 and 25 digs, respectively. Gar-Field lost that game, but managed to win one match, which gave the Indians some confidence to build from.
“In practice, we focused on our hitting and blocking,” said Wilson. “We also worked on moving our feet and tip coverage. Although I think we have a good defense, it is imperative at the varsity level that the girls start swinging and attacking more.”
In the game against Potomac Tuesday, Gar-Field won the first two games 25-16, 25-20; Potomac won the third game 25-12, and the Indians sealed the win with a 25-16 score in the fourth.
Rose-Ellen Mock had 7 assists and 7 aces; Kianna Vivanco had 13 kills.
“We have really stepped it up as a varsity squad,” added Wilson. “I cannot wait to see what the future holds for us!”
Gar-Field football has definitely found an identity with its running game, which has been instrumental in the Indians' 2-1 start. In the 34-7 win over Freedom Monday, Gar-Field rushed a total of 38 times for 203 yards. Shakeem Copeland rushed for 129 yards and three touchdowns on 13 carries; Jordan Miles ran six times for 38 yards and a touchdown. In contrast, quarterback Ryan Mason completed 7-of-11 passes for 50 yards.
“We're playing better as an offense and received good effort from everyone,” said head coach Thomas Gryder. “Mason is extremely intelligent and is doing a great job this year.”
However, the Indians are still plagued by turnovers and penalties. They fumbled the ball three times and was penalized 10 times for 100 yards.
The next opponent is Petersburg.