Valencia Vikings’ freshman girls’ volleyball took it all home this season: They scored a total of 531 points throughout the season, going undefeated (12-0) in the Foothill League and taking a championship title home from the Chatsworth Freshman tournament.
While preseason for the Vikings was a rough start, losing in three sets (20-25, 25-19, 15-6) to Quartz Hill and two sets (16-25, 15-25) to Chaminade, the Vikings were more determined than ever to bounce back and take on league head on, according to coach Miranda (Randi) Raitt.
“This season was full of joy, hope, excitement and overall teamwork,” Raitt said in a news release. “I was truly blessed to have such a strong and dedicated group of girls. They always had a smile on their face, on and off the court. These girls always knew how to pick each other up when things got tough. Best of all, they always made it a priority to have fun and learn more than taking a win home. Also, shout out to all the amazing parents who showed equal, if not more, dedication to this sport than their daughters. Without them, what we have wouldn’t be possible.”
The Lady Vikings were led by co-captains Aarna Bunyan, Elysa Dalmacio, and sub-captain Jolie Lahey.
“This season has been an amazing experience, filled with excitement, bonding with friends, and witnessing the improvement of myself and my teammates,” Dalmacio, an outside hitter, said in the release. “Competing in tournaments was nerve-racking, but the team put in the effort to avoid dropping the ball and to continue pushing on. Each game’s thought process was, ‘All or nothing.’”
Dalmacio added: “Though sometimes we would start off rough, we would always push our hardest. As the season ended, I learned many valuable lessons and witnessed the team’s growth. I am so proud of everyone and grateful for their contributions to this amazing team. I will never forget this freshman team and season, and I am forever grateful to my teammates and my coach for their support and for creating an amazing season.”
In the home opener against Hart, nerves were high. Outside hitter Mckenna Moon started the first game off strong with a passing average of 2.125 and 10 kills throughout the three sets against the Hart Indians. With the help of Bunyan, who had three setter kills in this game, the Vikings came out on top with the first win of the season.
“I was excited to be part of the team and play with my new teammates,” Bunyan said in the release. “As the season progressed we all developed our individual skills. We already started to see progress. Something that helped us was that we all played as a team rather than as individual players. We all motivated each other on and off the court. This was a memorable season that none of us will forget. All thanks to our hardworking and our amazing coach Randi.”
The Lady Vikings then traveled to Crescenta Valley High School for the Chatsworth Freshman Invitational. In this 20-team tournament, The Vikings started their day off strong with their first win in pool play against Eagle Rock High School. With the first win in the books, the Vikings were ready to sweep the rest of the day. At the end of the day, with five wins in their pockets, the final game pitted them against Pacific Palisades High School. With a final score of 20-25, the Vikings took home the first-place championship title.
“With the passing and defense of Lara Krajacic and Kaid Dudley, and the incredible energy of the team, nothing can stop their fire,” Raitt said.
“Before this season started, I was so excited to get to represent my school and I never would have imagined that we would have had such a fun season,” Vikings opposite hitter Jolie Lahey said in the release. “During the season I had so much fun developing my volleyball skills but also watching everyone grow and learn together. After the season ended, I realized how much I will miss all the girls and their individuality. I think the bond we had on and off the court was why we were so successful.”