New Beginnings with the Girls’ Volleyball Team

Covid has taken a toll on everything. From personal lives to sports and beyond. Here at Pace we’ve seen that with the start of our sports seasons. After coming off of a history of strong and winning girls’ volleyball teams, this year’s Setters had a lot of expectations that they met in unconventional ways.

While they had a losing season the games that the team did win, led by senior Tayo Dube, were exceptional. The team showed their strengths, one of them being their unity. It’s easy to be divided when all you’ve gotten used to are losses, but this team did just the opposite. When times got hard the Setters volleyball team tried and tried. In part that’s thanks to the great leadership shown by Dube, who thoroughly enjoyed her final season.

Unity engulfed his team this season through both success and failure. After each set, after each serve, the team never failed to bring encouragement to each other. At practices you could hear the encouragement coming from the younger and older girls. Each in their own comfortable cliques on the sidelines, they still embraced every single girl on the team.

Speaking closely with Dube this past season, one thing was clear: while her final season was important to her and many of the seniors on the team, she focused on the group of girls Coach Lee would have after her final season.

Dube encouraged the younger players. “Continue working hard and don’t let a couple of losses define who you are as a player. Keep having fun with the game and always uplift one another because no one is perfect,” said Dube.

There’s no dismissing the season that the girls’ volleyball team had, but ironically those losses were the biggest win this team had. It encouraged younger players like Jazzlyn Villar, freshman, to continue working on her volleyball skills.

“Now that the season is over,” Villar stated, “I feel a bit sad. I feel like I was just getting better a few weeks right before the season was over and I feel like I couldn’t show how much I have improved on the court.”

And it’s just that attitude that Dube emphasized during our interview. As the years come to a close and the Class of ’22 leaves, there are girls who have known loss and have an unbelievable drive to develop and, most of all, win. The younger girls got a small taste of victory this past season and it was empowering. Seeing the players smile and some cry over their victories, on court or during practices, was awe-inspiring. A newer generation of players is thriving to be better.

While this year Pace didn’t qualify for playoffs or have the same hype around the girls’ team as past years, I for one cannot wait to see how these younger girls continue to step up and embrace leadership positions on the team. Speaking with Dube she had some final words for her team this year: “I just want to say that I enjoyed getting to know everyone and playing with you all. I wish you all the best for the rest of the seasons to come.”