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The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


The Student News Site of Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy


Set-ting New Standards For HBHA Athletics With Girls Volleyball


Slider image by Tyler Johnson.

For the first time in Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy (HBHA) history, a new sport has been introduced to high school athletics: girls’ volleyball. The new fall sport is midway through what looks like will be an enjoyable season.

When the idea of starting a volleyball team at HBHA was brought up at the end of last school year, it was not a brand new thought; in fact, it had been discussed a decade ago. Lisa Ryan, the coach of the newfound team, explains that in the past, “due to scheduling troubles and a strong participation level in cross country, the idea of a volleyball program just did not seem to catch on.”

However, when an electronic volleyball net system was installed in the gym, the thought of starting an HBHA volleyball team resurfaced. “Through the years, volleyball has been a popular PE unit as well as a Winterim activity,” Ryan says, “so when news came of the new net system installed, the idea of a team became an actual possibility.” Ryan soon was approached about coaching the team, and, of course, she enthusiastically accepted.

Excitement aside, starting a new team with no experienced players is not a simple task. To help with team participation and preparation for future seasons, Ryan invited eighth graders to play on the team alongside the high schoolers.

Gabrielle Sosland, one of the eighth grade recruits, explains that she was nervous to play with the high schoolers at first. “I am younger and didn’t know them as well,” she says, “but to my surprise they have all been so supportive and encouraging.” While Sosland is new to volleyball, she really enjoys the sport. “Volleyball is unique because you have to work through multiple matches to win,” says Sosland. “It’s cool that the game depends on how hard you play on the first three sets, as opposed to working against the clock like in many other sports.”

The HBHA Girls Volleyball team is comprised of eighth graders and upper schoolers, all voluntarily playing a brand new sport to HBHA. Image by Olivia Balanoff.

The sport kicked off with an end-of-summer pre-season. Beginning in those practices, players learned the basics of volleyball and have progressed to learn more skills and techniques. Now, nearly two months of practicing has gone by and it is clear that the players have learned the ropes and are improving. 

“From the first day of practice until now, the progress we have made is incredible,” says senior Shir-el Rudnick. “We have learned all the rules, the different types of hits, how to serve, and everything in between.”

Nonetheless, competing in a sport for the first time is not easy. “I think a big challenge we have to face is playing as a team,” explains Rudnick. “Many of us have not played together in past sports and getting to know your teammates and the way they play is crucial to building a strong team.”

Ryan agrees with this and adds that “when you have never played a team sport like volleyball, you have to learn about each other and trust each other. Then confidence can grow in collective ability.”

Regardless of these challenges, the season has been exciting with the experience of each and every game. The team’s stats right now are substandard, but the players are gaining valuable lessons from the game experiences. According to Rudnick, “These games are learning opportunities that help us know what to work on for every next match.”

Even through losses, the HBHA Volleyball team learns from every game. Image by Aviva Clauer.

Despite tallies of wins and losses, the season has still been a blast for the team. Ryan is enjoying coaching the players and watching as they improve. “I have to say my favorite thing is when I see the team come together and make a great pass, the setter sets, and then our hitters hit it over. That’s how it’s supposed to be and it is so pretty when we play like that.”

The team plans to continue their hard work until the season ends, despite whatever may be the game results. “Struggling isn’t always a bad thing,” says Ryan. “We learn from struggling- sometimes more than we would on an easy path.” And, when the season does end, the team will already be preparing to resume where they left off in the year to come. That’s what an inaugural season is all about: setting up the team for future success (no pun intended).

For now, though, the team can take pride in the noteworthy effort they’ve put into the season. They, and only they, can say they were a part of the first ever HBHA volleyball team. Everyone is eager to see what comes next for them and the team in the following years.

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About the Contributor
Aviva Clauer
Aviva Clauer, Photo Editor
Aviva Clauer is a senior and this is her fourth year working on RampageWired. She loves writing articles spanning a variety of topics and looks forward to seeing what stories will come of this year! She is also excited to take on the position of Photo Editor in her final year on staff.