Pass, set, hit, and the game was over. The Eagle Rock Girls Volleyball Team beat SOCES to win another championship. Head Coach Jeff Elam helped lead the team to win the City Section Division 2 Championship on Saturday, November 6th. But we can’t give all the credit to him; most of the credit goes to the incredible team that got phenomenal passes, precise sets, and dangerous hits. They beat SOCES by 3 sets, with SOCES only winning 1.
The stakes were high when the Eagles set foot on the court to serve. They were ready to win and dominate. Danyelle Guerrero, the first server of the game, served the ball out, giving a point to their opponents, SOCES. SOCES then served it to the Eagles outside, setting Morgan Elam up for a hit. This rally ended with Eagle Rock’s libero, Hailey Song, administering a great pass to the setter, Danyelle Guerrero, and her setting up the opposite hitter, Jessamyn Wright, who hit the ball into the net. The score was 2-0 SOCES when Hailey Song received a hard serve and placed it in too hard of a spot for SOCES to get, putting Eagle Rock on the board, 2-1. The first set ended with Eagle Rock losing by a score of 14-25.
Eagle Rock came back in the second, out for blood and ready to win the second set. With SOCES getting the first serve, they aimed for Eagles outside, where Regine Go got the ball up and Hailey Song, who administered the bump set back to Regine Go, passed it back over to SOCES. The opposite hitter went up for a hit at the same time that our outside, Morgan Elam, went up to block the ball, getting us the first point of the set. Danyelle Guerrero, served again and to the back row where SOCES’s left back got the ball, passing it to the right back to set up the left back once again. Regine Go got the overpass, passing it to Danyelle Guerrero, who set it up to Jessamyn Wright, who hit the ball, resulting in SOCES’s blockers hitting the net. We started off the second set by winning the first two points and ended it by winning 25-13.
The Eagles came back for the third set, knowing this was going to be one of the toughest sets of the game. Both SOCES and Eagle Rock had already each won one set, and knew how the other team played. They both knew it was going to be a close set. Once again, Eagle Rock's first server and setter, Guerrero, had the ball to serve to the back row of SOCES. When receiving the overpass that SOCES hit, the ball went to Go, who passed the ball to Guerrero for her to set the ball to Elam, who got blocked by SOCES blockers, but was able to get the ball back up to unfortunately hit the net later in the rally. With that, SOCES got the first point of the third set. They set up in the middle of the court for Song to dive and get the ball to Guerrero to set Elam up once again for Elam to hit a well-placed ball to SOCES. Eagle Rock was on the board, and already the set was a lot more intense than the others. The set went on in that pattern, with the Eagles getting a point and SOCES getting a point right after. The Eagles managed to win the set with a close score of 25-23.
Fourth Set and Final Set:
Eagle Rock got on the court ready to win the set and the championship. SOCES got the first serve of the set, serving it to the back row where Song passed it to Guerrero, who set up Elam for a hit. Elam hit the ball to the back rows where they got it up to set up one of their hitters. Song got the ball up for Guerrero to set it up for Go to hit deep into the back row. SOCES got the ball up to send a freeball over, which was out. When Guerrero was up to serve, SOCES sent the ball back over with a hit to Song, which she passed to Guerrero to set up Elam close to the net, where Elam unfortunately hit the ball into the net. They shook it off to gain the next point by SOCES hitting it out. Emotions were high when it came down to the last couple of points, and with timeouts being called and spectators on their feet, the game could have gone either way. With a score of 23-24, Eagle Rock, SOCES had the serve and served a hard ball to Go, who got the ball up for Song to send a well placed free ball over the net. SOCES was able to return it by having their outside hit to Song, where she got a pass up to Guerrero to set up Go for the winning hit. As soon as the ball left Go’s hand, the game was over. The Eagle Rock Girls Volleyball Team had won another championship.
About this season and the new coach:
Coach Elam enthusiastically stepped onto the court at the last minute, because of his love for the game, the team, and his daughter, Morgan Elam, a junior and outside hitter for varsity. “I wanted my daughter to have a season, I wanted her friends to have a season. If I had not, there simply would not have been a season at all,” Coach Elam stated.
Though this may be his first experience coaching volleyball, the team agrees he brings forth skills that are valuable to them as players and are helping them improve their game as well as encouraging them to step into leadership positions. Coach Jeff motivates teamwork by having varsity players help out with practices for the junior varsity and freshman/sophomore teams. He promotes players to share their own ideas and thoughts on the game and welcomes constructive feedback. Mai Sarcol, a senior and an outside hitter on the team, commented, “With Jeff I feel we’re able to voice more of our own opinions and have more of a voice on how we can play.”
Morgan Elam said Coach Jeff is “good at getting energy up and at encouraging teamwork.” Morgan went on to say that he “considers a lot of the players’ opinions and asks how he can get better.”
Tears and smiles were appearing on the court after the game when former Coach, Tim Burgeon was invited to the court to congratulate his former players. The girls had won another championship and were glad to have their former and current coaches there to celebrate their victory.