Volleyball Victory


Bud Keegan

Players and crowd celebrate after the win. A player triumphantly holds her metal.

Abigail C. '21, Reporter

After working hard all year, Padua’s Volleyball team won the DIAA volleyball championship against St. Marks High School. The game lasted four sets with scores of 25-16, 21-25, 25-18, 25-23.

This victory did not come easily. Throughout the season, the team practiced six days a week, one of those days for weight training. “Preparation begins in August. Daily workouts, practice, and sessions at Titus Sports Academy help keep us physically ready to go throughout the season,” said Assistant Coach Mrs. Giaquinto.

Leading up to the championship game, the team practiced the Saturday and Sunday before. “We talked about what to expect when entering such a large arena and our goal for the night. We then held normal practice focusing on specific things that we knew St Mark’s would bring to the table. Most importantly, we just stuck to a normal strategy of energy, communication, and fun,” said head coach Ms. DiSabatino.

Abigail C. ’21
Game statistics per player and play. More than half of the plays were digs, with kills coming in second. Pritchard had the most plays of the game, mostly consisting of digs.

Before the game, the team has several good-luck rituals. They decorate the side entrance to the school and make a banner. Before heading to the game, the team shares treats in the cafeteria. A mother of one of the players also dresses up as a panda, the school mascot, to cheer on the team.

At the end of the game, the crowd reacted strongly. “…We all just rushed the floor and everyone was hugging each other. We were all crying. It was just such a good feeling,” said right-side hitter Jackie Barnett. Then, the crowd joined in with the team to sing “We Are The Champions.”

Ireland Giaquinto, a setter on the team, felt overwhelmed when the team won. “I could not even believe that that’s what just happened. After jumping and screaming like a maniac, I fell to the ground and cried…”

The volleyball team knew this game wouldn’t be an easy win. “We knew that St. Marks was a really great team, so it was going to be a close game. And we just worked through that and stayed together so we would succeed,” said Mackenzie Sobczyk.

Bud Keegan
Players embrace after winning the game. “I’m just so proud of everyone on the team. We all came together and it was just such a good feeling,” said Barnett.

Barnett agreed, adding, “When the games are close I get really excited and I think the team gets really excited. And it makes the game more fun. We just had to work really hard and we wanted it really bad.”

“It was one of the best feelings in the world when the last ball fell on the floor. We all were so excited and all of the stuff we go through and everything that we’ve done… just paid off right there,” said Sobczyk.

Both DiSabatino and Giaquinto wanted to thank the school for the support they gave the team. “The student fan section was amazing. It was awesome to hear the constant cheering, but at the end when everyone sang ‘We Are The Champions’ was the absolute best celebration of all,” said Mrs. Giaquinto.

DiSabatino agreed, saying, “Their belief in us never wavered and for that we are eternally grateful.”

The team’s road to their win wasn’t easy. “The season definitely wasn’t a storybook season- we went through a lot of things between our team like injuries,” said Sobczyk.

“I try to remain very positive, regardless of the situation… but when Michelle Kozicki was unable to finish out the season due to a medical concern, I think we panicked a little. We lost our last match of the season, but we regrouped for playoffs and had a new drive and outlook,” said Mrs. Giaquinto.

Bud Keegan
Crowd and players pose for a celebratory photograph. “The student fan section was amazing,” said Mrs. Giaquinto.

But, the team never let that setback stop them. Sobczyk said, “I don’t think we ever thought we were not going to make it, but we knew we would have to work even harder and just stay together. Because we knew that was what was going to separate us from other teams.”

“I had the utmost confidence in my coaches and teammates that we could do it from the start. And even with some unpredicted injuries, my teammates persevered and played hard to win…,” said Ireland Giaquinto.

Winning the state championship means more to the players than just winning. As Mrs. Giaquinto said, “Winning a state title will remain with these players forever. They will never forget this moment and all of the hard work that went into getting there. This will help them in other life situations- knowing that everything takes effort and sacrifice.”

This accomplishment is especially important to the seven seniors on the team. “…it’s great for them to end their volleyball careers with the state championship because they’ve all worked for this like their whole volleyball career,” said Sobczyck.

In the end, Assistant Coach Giaquinto said she is, “…super proud of how resilient this team has been and that every single player on the squad had a role in getting us the state title.”