Volleyball Seniors Vacate Home Court

Senior+Ahmed+Saleh+with+Coach+Tarina+Elliott+after+receiving+a+Viking+helmet+and+lei+during+the+senior+walk+off.

Quinn Pedrick

Senior Ahmed Saleh with Coach Tarina Elliott after receiving a Viking helmet and lei during the senior walk off.

Quinn Pedrick, Managing Editor

Valley’s Varsity Boys’ Volleyball seniors played their last two home games of their high school careers against Mojave High School and Rancho High School on May 8th.

While Valley lost both games, they put up a tremendous fight in each set, winning one set in the game against Mojave with great highlights from senior middle blockers and hitters Yon Mora with 5 kills and 6 blocks and Johnathen Botello with 1 kill and 6 blocks as well as 25 digs from libero Vaibhav Gupta. Setter Ahmed Saleh had 12 assists, 10 digs, and 1 ace throughout the game. In the second game against Rancho, some star seniors include Gupta with another 11 digs and Saleh with 9 assists.

Valley’s B Team played Mojave and Rancho as well on Saturday, losing both games but in rather close matches. Sophomore Kameron Keener had 5 kills, 1 dig, and 1 ace,and sophomore Luis Bueno had 6 aces, 1 kill, 1 assist, and 11 digs during the Mojave game. Freshman Dylan Keene had 10 assists and 12 digs and sophomore Ke’yontae Johnson had 4 aces, 2 kills, and 4 digs during the Rancho game. They finished off their season, and Elliott expects most of them to move up into Varsity next year.

Seniors Jonathan Botello and Salvador Aguilar blocking the opponent from spiking in the first set of their last home game. (Quinn Pedrick)

Nine seniors played their last home games of their high school careers, and there were also two seniors from the girls’ team recognized for their efforts during the very long off-season.

“Something I cherish the most [about volleyball] is Coach T teaching me the game, teaching me how to actually play like a volleyball player,” senior Ruby Reyes said. “I once heard her say she can turn anyone into a volleyball player, and it’s true: I had no clue about volleyball, but she taught me everything. She made me hungry for the game. I thank her for teaching me the beautiful game of volleyball. I’m going to miss her the most.”

Elliott holds pride for each of her players, recognizing their strengths and weaknesses and develops on them in a way the players admire and appreciate.

“I mostly just enjoyed playing with the team,” Botello said. “I [play volleyball] for fun because it is a nice experience. I don’t really care that much about wins and losses even though I would prefer to win. It’s all about having good teammates and having a good time.”

Senior Jonathan Botello spiking while facing a middle blocker from Rancho during the senior night game on May 8th. (Quinn Pedrick)

In practice before the next games leading into the start of playoffs, the team is going to work on the defense they have been lacking as well as seeing around blocks, anticipating where the ball is going, and running more fakes and quick attacks. They also aim to run more plays because the fast season has not permitted them to be able to implement those into games too much just yet.

“We won our first set, and it was one of our biggest achievements this season,” Saleh said. “At first, I was feeling hopeful; however, we tried our best, and, to me, that is winning.”