Photo courtesy of Brophy Volleyball | The varsity volleyball team prays before a game. The team recites the “Hail Mary” before each game.
By George Anton ’21
With many talented players departing the Brophy volleyball program last season, the varsity team now looks to achieve success through teamwork.
Although the varsity volleyball team lost in the quarterfinals last year, they still had several talented players that left to play at division 1 collegiate schools.
Seven seniors on the team graduated last year and four of them were starters, including Nate Thompson ’18 who now plays at Princeton University, and Conor Dunn ‘18 who now is a setter for the University of California, Santa Barbara.
“We are going to have to be a scrappier and more resilient team,” said head coach Mr. Oldani. “Last year we could rely on Nate or Rohan putting the ball away every time.”
“Last year we had games that we won purely because we were more skilled than the other team. This year we need to recognize that it’s going to be a lot more of us having to come together,” said Rohan Sidhu ’19, who is a starting hitter for varsity.
Sidhu still believes that if the team can manage to mesh together, then a state championship is not out of reach.
Without players like Thompson and Dunn, younger sophomores and even freshman will take roles on varsity this season.
One of those freshmen is Andrew Werner ’22. Werner started playing volleyball in sixth grade and has already been talked to by Division 1 schools. He has had numerous accomplishments with his club, including winning state and national championships, and will now be a participating member of the varsity team.
“The biggest unknown” this year is who will be the setter, said Mr. Oldani.
Werner has expressed that he is usually an outside hitter or an opposite hitter, however, he may be moved to be a setter if need be and that he is up to the task.
When asked about how comfortable he was playing with varsity as a freshman, Werner said, “I feel pretty comfortable because for club, my team has played 18-year-old teams and we have done pretty well.”
Sidhu has confidence going into the upcoming season. Although there are many players new to the varsity team, they were given a taste of the pace of play last year due to the programs “farm” system. JV players got the chance to play with varsity in numerous tournaments and playoffs as well.
“A lot of these players got good varsity experience last year, so we hope that those guys can fill the void,” said Sidhu.
Mr. Oldani also emphasized that new leaders will have to emerge and he thinks players like Sidhu can play that role.
Sidhu made it clear of the importance that returning varsity members make it a positive environment for the younger players. He says that he and other seniors have already met with each other to discuss how to lead the new players.
Having a tightly knit team is nothing new to the volleyball program.
“There are guys from years ago that are at each others’ weddings,” said Mr. Oldani.
As a rising leader, Sidhu talked about the importance of creating a healthy team mentality.
“We can’t have this attitude that we are the best team. We need to have an attitude that we just need to work this year, putting in the time in the gym, and doing every rep with purpose,” said Sidhu.
Werner believes that even though it is important for individuals to get better, getting players to work together is even more significant.
“The biggest thing is teamwork. If one person is carrying the team, they will never be as good as a good team working together,” said Werner.
Both Sidhu and Werner mentioned the importance of energy and spirit, and how it will enable them to beat opponents that may be better.
“I think we have the ability this year to sneak up on a lot of teams,” said Sidhu.
Brophy volleyball may not be ranked as high in the state as in past years, but the players and coaches still believe that they have the potential emerge as victorious.