A Volleyball Player’s Favorite Moment on the Court

There we were, the underdogs, and on the other side of the net were gym stands filled to the brim with students. And the Columbus team was tall—really tall. 

By Carli Bowen, Staff Writer

Six girls stand on a court together, staring across the net at their opponents, waiting for the play to start. A whistle pierces the air, and the world starts to move in slow motion. Tracking the ball with her eyes, one girl steps up to receive the pass, and like clockwork, another player sets the ball. Within the blink of an eye, the ball slams to the ground on the other side of the net. The play is over, and the teams prepare to do it all over again. 

The volleyball program here at Marist has given me some incredible memories. Like most varsity sports at Marist, the season is long with practices every day, starting in the summer until early November. It’s a big commitment and a lot of hard work, but the memories and traditions make it all worth it. 

During the summer, we have team camp at a college during the summer, but the event that really kicks off the season is the lake trip. We spend the weekend at Lake Chatuge soaking in the sun, boating around, and tubing. This really marks the beginning of the season and gives the new team a chance to truly bond. We come home that Sunday and start practices the next day. 

What makes this team special is the humor and love the girls have for each other. This team is comprised of some of the funniest people on campus, which makes our practices filled with shenanigans and tons of laughter. 

I think my favorite memory of Marist volleyball was beating Columbus High School in the semifinals my sophomore year. We were clearly the underdog, and everybody was sure we were going to lose. We had no idea what to expect. 

We left school early and began the two-hour bus ride up there. That ride was quiet, as all of us were focusing and trying to prepare for the game. At first, it was a normal warm-up in their gym, with a few scattered students walking around (large student sections are rare in volleyball) and our parents getting situated. Fifteen minutes before the game started, however, the Columbus student section began to fill up and suddenly the entire gym was filled. Soon after, the marching band entered and began playing music to pump up the home crowd. There we were, the underdogs, and on the other side of the net were gym stands filled to the brim with students. And the Columbus team was tall—really tall. 

In the first game, Columbus came out strong and beat us, but we would go on to win the second and third game, barely. In volleyball, you have to win games by two points and games go to 25 points. In the fourth game, we rallied from five points down to tie the game at 22, eventually taking a 24-23 lead. One more point for us would secure a spot in the state championship. 

The world moved in slow motion, the pass wasn’t perfect, the set wasn’t perfect, but we managed to get a hit on the ball. A near perfect pass by Columbus set up their best hitter. The next thing I remember is a whistle. We had earned the point.

The bus ride home was a joyous blur, but I remember lots of singing, yelling, and dancing as we realized we were state championship bound.