Volleyball fights for conference tournament championship

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Volleyball fights for conference tournament championship

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For Northwest’s girls’ volleyball team, last Thursday night brought a lot of stress and excitement. The conference tournament semifinals and finals were being held at Page High School on Oct. 18, Northwest facing off against Grimsley for their first match. Northwest won against the Whirlies in four sets, immediately playing Page afterwards.

“We had worked hard all year and it finally came down to the final game against Page,” senior Julia Smith said.

Northwest kicked off the game by winning the first set 25-22, Page won the second set 25-23 and the third set 25-19. Northwest made a comeback by winning the fourth set 25-18. The fifth set would determine who would win the title of conference tournament champions, so the stakes were high.

The girls faced a bump in the road with the injury of one of their contributing players, sophomore Amelia Hammond. Hammond is a right side hitter who currently has 105 kills this season.

“After Amelia’s injury, something inside of us just sparked,” senior Grace Johnson said. “I knew we were going to win because of the fire that had just lit up inside all of us.”

I knew we were going to win because of the fire that had just lit up inside all of us.”

— senior Grace Johnson

The passion that the team had to win the game was amplified because they had a greater purpose, which was to win for Hammond. After winning the game, Hammond came back to the gym on crutches and was surrounded by her teammates. The girls were so excited to see Hammond and show her the plaque declaring them the conference tournament champions.

Dealing with an injured player wasn’t the only challenge the team faced. Due to the rivalry between Page and Northwest’s volleyball teams, Page had a large student section with the home team advantage. Page’s student section taunted some of Northwest’s players when they served or after a point. The rowdiness of their students didn’t shake the girls though; Northwest was able to tune them out and focus on the game at hand.

Since the final match was directly after the semifinals match and went to five sets, the teams didn’t leave Page until late at night. Northwest had been playing since 5:00 p.m., putting about five hours of volleyball under their belts.

“By the end of it, I was emotionally and physically exhausted, but I’m very proud of the girls,” freshman Grace Austin said.

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