It was November 2016, in Riverside Secondary’s gym, the Fraser Valley Championship on the line for the Rapids Junior Girls Volleyball team. The game was against our rivals of the season, the Pacific Academy Breakers. We had played them three times already this season and although they were close matches, we fell short every time. This game meant everything to us. Going into the match we were the underdogs and we knew it, this game would require all our grit, determination and hard work from our entire season.
After our hype warm up, the game began. In the first set we were neck and neck until the score was 20-20 but the Breakers managed to pull ahead with a finish of 22-25. Even though we lost the first set, we were not going to give up; we still had two more sets to prove ourselves. The second set begins and we have the lead at 12-8 but at 23-23 the Breakers caught a lucky break with the referee and two bad calls to earn them two more points to finish and win the set. One more set to go to prove to everyone in this gym that we came here to play. The third set begins and we were slowly falling behind. It seemed like all hope was gone when the score was 15-24 for the Breakers. We get an untouchable kill by one of our power hitters that scores us a point. The score is now 16-24 as I go behind the line to serve.
Please just let this go in, I think to myself. If I miss this serve I’ll regret it for the rest of my life. The pressure was unbelievably heavy. I felt as if I was carrying the championship on my shoulders, I could not mess this up for my team. The referee blows the whistle for me to serve and it’s an ace. My whole team goes crazy and cheering fills the gym. I go back to serve again and the ball goes over the net and skiffs off a player’s arms scoring us another point and the gym goes wild again. The score is now 18-24 and we can tell the coach from the other team is getting antsy. We stay calm, cool and collected and we just play our game. I serve again and score us another point.
The Breakers’ coach calls a timeout in effort to shake us. We are way too fired-up and ready to play that it doesn’t work. I go back to serve again and we get the ball back but our power hitter kills the ball to the end line, scoring us another point. Through all the coaches efforts to mess us up by making player substitutions and timeouts we battle back to 25-24. One more point to go and our team is as ready as ever. I serve the ball over and the other team pops it up. The set goes outside and their power hitter hits the ball directly into our massive block and we stuff it to the ground. The whole gym lights up and cheers louder than ever for us. After that difficult lost from Pacific Academy, they struggle to come back from it. We go on to win the fourth set as well with a score of 25-16. We go into the fifth and final set of this Fraser Valley Championship. By putting in every ounce of effort we had we pulled out a win at 15-13, winning us a Fraser Valley Championship banner, gold medals, and pride, above all else, pride.
Everyday I walk into the Riverside gym I see our banner and a smile grows across my face. All the memories I have and the friendships I have made on and off the volleyball court will last a lifetime. From all the failures and successes we made a family. Teammates we can lean on during our hardest days and friends we can celebrate with on our best, and that is what makes the victory all the more special.