Unfinished BusinessMonday, October 21, 2019 2:09 pm
By Ashley Snellenberger,
Special to Van Buren School District News
The Van Buren High School volleyball team has been building momentum to make another
state tournament appearance since their loss last year and has been working hard to make that
goal a reality. From working on their mental toughness to creating a family-like environment, the team is ready to end this season with a state championship.
After going five sets with the state runners-up last year, the team culture shifted from a mindset
that they can win to a mentality that they will win. To accomplish this goal, the team began
increasing their practices after school and going to lessons outside of practice. "We have not
had a day off from practice, which is good because it is pushing us to get that mental toughness to compete at the next level," said senior Zoe Morrison.
That mental toughness is another aspect this winning team has focused on this season. "Coach Reeves is big on the mental game of volleyball," said senior Grace Doolittle. "It means pushing through when you feel like you can't do anymore and not giving up."
For coach Brent Reeves, volleyball is a rigorous and competitive sport. "A lot of people don't
realize the hard work, effort, and time these girls put in every day. Volleyball is a game of shifts
and momentum. The girls are playing both offense and defense, and that takes stamina. It can
also be very mentally draining."
A big part of what makes this team so great is their family mentality. The seniors on the team
have been playing together since ninth grade and consider themselves friends outside of
volleyball. "Even when the practice is hard, I still laugh and have fun," said Morrison. "Even
though the practice is at the end of the day, it's the highlight of my day."
The seniors have also made a point to befriend their younger teammates. When the team eats
together, they make an effort to sit with the younger girls. At practice, the girls work together to
make everyone's experience the best it can be. They are all there to cheer each other on when
one does something great on the court or off it. "We want the younger girls to be close, have
fun, and believe that they can continue to win after we graduate," said senior Bailey Brooks.
Another critical aspect of the teams' success is the support from the students, staff, and
community that have been cheering them to victory at each game. "All those people who came
to the state tournament and supported us here meant a lot to us," said senior Madalyn Doolittle.
"It made us realize that we have a lot of support and that people want us to continue to do well.
Having supporters makes us want to work harder so that we can make them proud."
This support is a motivator for them to make another state championship appearance. "Last
year, we went further than previous teams and made Van Buren proud," said Brooks. "This
year, we are trying even harder to go further."
Come out and support the VBHS volleyball team as they compete in their final home game of
the season on Tuesday, October 22, at 5 p.m. at Clair Bates Arena.