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Volleyball players reflect on challenges after losing season

Mike Hendrickson

Mike Hendrickson

Sophomore Emma Franco attempts to block against Modesto Junior College on Sept. 30. Gunther said the team’s biggest strength was blocking due to the height of certain players.

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The volleyball team ended its season on Nov. 16, losing to Sierra College in three sets, 25-23, 25-18 and 25-8.

Head coach Minet Gunther said the team tried its best despite struggling to get wins.

“We were 8-16,” Gunther said. “You don’t go into a season wanting to do that.”

Gunther said overall the team did good considering some of the unexpected circumstances that got in the way this season.

“We had a talented team, but some of our players had to play out of position,” Gunther said.

Some players agreed that mental obstacles got in their way, which translated onto the court.

“Overall, I think this season was a struggle,” sophomore setter Emma Franco said.

“I liked my team, but we had a lot of personal conflicts. Physically we were strong, but mentally it was like a roller coaster,” she said.

The team had its fun times during preseason, playing in the Modesto Junior College tournament. The Hawks won in three sets against Los Medanos College, but lost in five sets to Chaffey College.

“We had a pretty good preseason,” Barghout said. “We felt carefree and pumped at trying to get the W.”

However, the team would go 1-16 against the Big 8.

The lone victory came against Diablo Valley College in the second to last game of the season, snapping the team’s 14-game losing streak.

“We were in that conference and it’s like a dogfight,” said Gunther. “It is tough no matter what because you’re playing against strong opponents.”

Although they didn’t make it to the playoffs, some players did receive recognition.

Sophomore middle hitter Domanique Coronado, who led the Big 8 in blocks per game, received All-Conference second team honors, while sophomore libero Natasha Malana made All-Conference honorable mention, according to the CRC Athletics website.

With every loss, the team’s momentum began to decrease and mental pressure began to set in.

“Our biggest mental challenge was that we got inside our heads and picked ourselves up too late in the season,” said freshmen outside hitter Yara Barghout.

Gunther said despite having losing streaks the team handled themselves well.

“It’s not easy to lose more than you win,” Gunther said. Despite their defeats many players said the team worked well as a unit.

“We did pretty good as a team, we built patience and a happy medium,” Malana said.

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Volleyball players reflect on challenges after losing season