CRLS Girls Volleyball Experiences Season of Growth

Graham Quigley, Sports Editor

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The CRLS girls varsity volleyball team is experiencing a rebuilding year—one that while frustrating at times has the potential to set the team up for success in the coming years. With much of the team’s core consisting of sophomores, including 4 prominent starters, the team has much to be optimistic about in the upcoming years.

Although the future holds potential, the 3-12 start to the season that the team struggled through has been less than optimal, with their only wins coming over weak teams from Weston and Boston Latin Academy. Head Coach Kelly Leary, a prominent figure not only in Cambridge but also in Massachusetts volleyball as a whole is in the midst of her sixteenth season as the CRLS volleyball head coach. She recently commented that “the season [has been] a [re]building year,” and that a “lack of senior leadership [and] star power [among] seniors as far as being able to show the girls what [the game] looks like” has been part of the issues plaguing the team all season long.

Although Leary sees senior Captain Jaadyyah Shearrion as a positive force on the team, she believes that the fact that there are only two seniors on the team has contributed to the team’s poor performance demonstrated early on in the season. 

This lack of a strong senior presence on the team has, according to Leary, caused “the girls [to have] a really hard time  applying what they’re being taught.”

Although Junior Captain Kamilla Santos recognizes the very young and inexperienced nature of the team, she asserts that this lack of seniors “[can’t] be [used as] an excuse because [the team] still has a lot of juniors, and even the sophomores…can lead [themselves] and [the team as a whole].” However, Santos does agree with Leary that “we need to apply what [Leary] is teaching us” before the team can get back on the path to success.

On a broader note, while examining the state of the entire girls’ program in the city, Leary sees the once-great team at a crucial intersection. Leary told the Register Forum that “girls [across the program] need to pick up in the way they compete, [and] across the board they’re lacking [a] knowledge [of] how to compete.” 

Santos added on, explaining that the current culture of the team is very different than the one that propelled the team to the  North Sectional Semi-Finals her freshman year. This team traveled the farthest a team has gone under Leary’s long tenure, amassing a 15-4 record until they were stopped by the eventual state-champion Newton North girls. Santos “remember[s] that they were more open with each other…  [had] more confiden[ce] [in] how they were playing, and they had [a leader] who would tell other people what to do,” something she sees as lacking in the team’s current state.

Still, even with the significant number of injuries and adversity faced by the team this year, the coaching staff and current players already recognize a team that has the potential for doing something special in the upcoming years. Captain Shearrion ’20 emphasized that “if [the team] get[s its] act together, [future teams] will definitely do better than the way they’ve played this year,” especially if they’re able to improve their mindset in regards to mistakes on both micro and macro levels.