Volleyball: The Road to State

Kai Ahrens, Writer

Going to state for the first time in 20 years was an exciting way for the volleyball team to end their season, especially for the seniors. Even though I didn’t play in the matches, being the varsity team’s manager was equally fun and gave me a front-row seat to the amazing feats my team performed. I’m so proud of the girls and how far they have come. I played with some of these girls during school and the Junior

Abby and Anna Molstad after getting a kill. (Submitted Photo)

Olympics, going as far back as 5th grade. It was amazing watching the team’s seemingly impossible plays and how they made the other teams scramble to keep the ball off the floor. There were clever dumps, imposing blocks from the front row, fast attacks that blew by the opposing team, and impossible digs so out of bounds the team cheered too early. It’s hard to think they are just high schoolers, kids the same age as me and younger.

Tuesday was the first day of state – the start of a week I will remember for the rest of my life. After trying to cram twenty-one people and their bags into the three vans, we arrived at the Hampton Inn. The banquet for all the teams was that night, and trying to navigate St. Paul’s broken sidewalks in heels was quite an impressive feat. With blistered feet and the risk of twisted ankles, we managed to survive the night.

New Prague fan section at the Xcel Energy Center. (submitted photo)

Wednesday was the first day of actual games, and we played against Chisago Lakes. It was a 3-1 win. Even though the last point was a vibe killer, we still got the point back. The fans pulled through, showing up by the busload and overtaking the fan section from the previous match. We then escaped the bunker where the vans were parked and went to McDonald’s. Hearing Coach Sayuk order twenty cheeseburgers, six 20-piece nuggets, and three large french fries at 11:00 p.m. was quite amusing.

Friday was the semi-finals against Kasson Mantorville. We lost 1-3. It was tough, but we were in it together. The girls played so well that I couldn’t stay seated. They fought even when it seemed hard to catch up, but when the match point for the other team came about, it was tough that we came up short. It was emotional, but

Team huddle after line up. (Submitted photo)

the tears didn’t come until Coach Sayuk gave his pep talk: “I’m so proud of you all. Even though it didn’t turn out the way we wanted, we still get 1 more game. We still have 48 hours together.” I tried to keep the tears at bay, but the reminder that it was the end of the season and the last year for the seniors was too much. I felt the first tear fall. 

Saturday was the last day of state against Grand Rapids. Since the court we were going to play on was delayed, we did football cheers and played games in the locker room. We weren’t allowed to have our phones in the locker room, so we resorted to playing the childish game of obo shin otten totten, watching the game previous to ours, and getting ready for the big game. In yet another exciting game, the Trojans got 3rd place with a 3-0 win. As our names were announced and we lined up to receive our medals from Coach Sayuk, I couldn’t believe we made it. While in the locker room, Sayuk gave a heartbreaking speech. It was perhaps more emotional than the loss.

Team and fans after the win against Holy Angels to secure state bid. (Submitted Photo)

The volleyball team is a family, and with more than half of the team graduating this year, it was one of the best ways to end the season. I’m going to miss the entire team, but I can’t wait to see what the younger girls will bring to the volleyball community in the future.