• Grace Weikel

Viz Volleyball Recap by Grace Weikel '23

Throughout the past four years, I've spent almost every fall day in Buder Gym practicing volleyball. It has been a wild four seasons, especially my junior year, when our season turned literally upside down after our coach took a leave of absence. Coming into my senior season, I was extremely excited; our new coach was not only respected throughout the volleyball community, but also not afraid to joke around from time to time. We jumped right into the season, starting open gyms during the summer to seek out our new prospective players. But before our season even officially started, we were already facing hardships, when my future co-captain, Giovanna Bonifacio, landed wrong at a summer open gym, tearing her ACL. Challenged to move on, we fell back onto each other, with our coaches establishing our "No BCD" (blame, complain, defend) mindset. Time and time again, we faced major challenges. Numerous foot and ankle injuries, minor concussions, and a season-long sickness plagued the program, but regardless of how recovered we were physically, our mental strength carried us through. Despite our sour conditions, we fought harder, with several players stepping into roles they wouldn't have ever imagined playing in. Time and time again, our resilience shined through, leading us to victories like St. Pius X, where our libero, Brooke Menke, and right-side hitter, Maggie Alexander, collided hustling for a ball, resulting in their early retirement from the game. With another set to win, it would have been easy to fold, but our backline accepted the challenge, with our 6'2 right-side, Mia Maddock, playing all the way around. The victory was incredibly sweet-- it proved to us that even when the scariest of moments, like your best passer getting injured, come to fruition, we had the ability to recover. This year, more than ever before, our practices and games were filled with laughter and unbounded joy. Screaming Pitch Perfect in the team room and Country Girl on the court gave us the energy to fight neck and neck with some of the top teams in the area. Even though our record might not reflect it, I am incredibly proud of our season. For those who have never played volleyball, it is hard to describe the relationships that grow within a season. With only twelve on a team, you get to know everyone on a deeper level than in most other sports which makes the end so much more emotional. Throughout my career, I have never felt so supported and loved by a group of girls, which is truly the reason why I am so sad to leave. It is hard to imagine my life without Viz Volleyball, it has shaped me into the teammate, leader, and friend that I am today. I always knew that my senior season was going to be something special, but with a new pair of coaches and an extra fun and excited group of girls, I will never, ever, be able to forget it.