Last night the Sequoia Pathway volleyball team experienced its first loss of the season against the Basis Peoria Scorpions in a hard-fought four-setter. The 1-3 defeat means the Pumas will not advance to the Canyon Athletic Association’s Division II State Championship.
“The girls held on to their nerves for too long,” coach Lashieka Holley said of the game.
However, Holley was more upbeat about the season past as a whole and the one to come.
“The girls ended the season 16-1,” Holley said. “They really came together and had an unprecedented season, which sets us up for next year. They will be ready for those close games.”
Two juniors are slated to return next season, as will a number of freshmen and sophomores, preserving a strong core. Despite the loss, the camaraderie developed by the tight-knit squad was itself a form of victory.
“We worked really hard as soon as we came in from tryouts,” said Lynniece Andrews, the team’s court captain. “We weren’t as bonded back then, and that was a big piece, because we had different components coming in. We all meshed together and we’re sisters now. We work hard everyday and every game.”
Another Puma captain, Jasmin Nafarrate, echoed this sentiment.
“We have our ups and downs, of course, every team does, but we really did bond together,” said Nafarrate, who described her own role on the team as the “emotional support captain.”
“I’m like a big sister. If they need any advice off the court, anything going on with their families, boy troubles, I’m always there for them. I’m just a shoulder to lean on.”
Holley had hoped the Pumas’ extra practices and long hours would have end in the goal they wrote down shortly after tryouts: winning the state championship for their division.
“They really put themselves through it this year,” Holley said. “They are a really hard-working group of girls, a special group.”