The Road to a District Title: Lady Cavaliers vs Stingrays


Kysa Mesa

Varsity players exchange high-fives before adjusting for a new set.

Displaying their home-court pride, Lady Cavaliers volleyball “spiked” at their cross-town rivals, the Miami High Stingrays. Flooded with crimson and grey apparel, both the junior varsity and varsity team lined up in the Coral Gables Senior High gymnasium for a back-and-forth matchup on Sept. 13. 

Energized by the crowd, JV girls stampeded the court at 3:30 p.m., only to score a few points for the lead. Zeroing in on strong serves and improved communication, the girls maintained a competitive advantage over the Stingrays throughout the majority of the first set. Living up to the Cavalier hype, the team emerged victorious with a 2-0 triumph against Miami High. 

“My favorite part of the game was the fact we won 25 to 2 in the first set. So far our JV team this year is excelling in communication, technique and bonding,” freshman Lucia Rodenberg said. 

Varsity girls shifts into blocking position against their opponents, the Miami High Stingrays. (Kysa Mesa)

Conjuring their winning mentality, varsity followed with their scheduled 5:00 p.m. matchup in the gym. Prior to the whistle, Gables’ boys volleyball team laid a helping hand with pre-game warmups and practice routines such as stretches, serves, passes and hits. Additionally, the girls were reminded of plays and rotations that would be implemented into the game.  

Knocking hard on their opponent’s front door, Gables accumulated points with powerful serves from junior Audrey Noval. Despite not winning the first set, the varsity girls executed their game plan with challenging saves from their captain, senior Avery Felix. Giving all-around effort, the Cavaliers unfortunately fell shy during the second set by a tally of 25 to 17. 

“The most interesting part for me was the energy the crowd brought to the game. Our varsity team fought really hard and kept their heads held high the whole game and they tried their best,” junior Madison Mendoza said.

Cavalier spirit remained lively throughout the matchup on Sep. 13. (Kysa Mesa)

Uplifting their spirits, the crowd began yelling “Let’s go Gables” to spark encouragement for their fellow Cavaliers. Prompted to keep going, the volleyball team kept the score at even because of meaningful serves and sets by freshman Corina McDanal. Around two-thirds into the set, both teams were at 24 a piece.

In a breath-taking sequence of events, both sidelines were on the edge of their seats with finger crossed and signs of nervousness as the Stingrays landed the final two points which resulted in a score of 26 to 24. 

“I thought that the Miami High game was really exciting for the team, but the pressure of them being our rivals is also super intense, which can be both good and bad. My favorite part was probably the last set, because the score was super close so it was really exciting to see. While we’ve had better games, I still think that the team played well and that we held our ground, especially considering how good Miami High is as well as the fact that a few of our best players were injured during the game,” junior Georgia Rau said

Although varsity and JV had different results, the game proved to be a marking stone along the road to a district championship. Reflecting on their game-time mistakes, the volleyball girls are preparing for their next game against MAST Academy on Sep. 20.