Setting New Standards in Girls’ Varsity Volleyball


The Mustangs Volleyball players, in pink, faced many obstacles this season, but went farther than ever before. Photo by Cassidy Polga.

Nicolette Peterson, Senior Staff Writer

The 2016 Girls’ Varsity season was defined by success against the odds as the team advanced to finals for the first time in the history of MacDuffie volleyball.  While the playoffs were out of reach for last year’s team, the 2016 Mustangs secured the second seed in the Class C tournament. They then won twice at home, with 3-0 victories over the Hamden Hall Country Day Hornets in the quarterfinals and the Bancroft Bulldogs in the semifinals, ultimately falling on the road in straight sets to the undefeated defending champion King School Vikings in the championship match. Junior Jocelyn St. Onge says she is most proud of “accomplishing everything that we did with what we had.”

The team’s great accomplishments defied initially existing conditions.  Lacking a coach, the team faced much instability at their season’s start.  The resignation of last year’s Girls’ Varsity Volleyball Coach Shaun Campbell led to uncertainties with determining new coaching roles. Ultimately, freshman Kacey Deecher’s father Andy Deecher filled in the gap left by Campbell before new coaches were introduced to MacDuffie later in the volleyball season.

Improvement within the team this year was undeniable.  Senior Flo Tshimanga says complications within coaching united her teammates, which “brought a different mindset to how we should play and how we should take it seriously.”  Success was evident with the team’s undefeated streak, excluding one game against a team of a higher Class D division. Team bonding was a vital component in their success.  According to Kacey Deecher, “Without having each other’s backs, we wouldn’t have made it that far.”

Deecher believes nerves surrounding the championship game’s outcome negatively influenced the way the team played together in the first set.  While the team agrees their first set, a 25-11 loss, had not been executed as they had hoped, they united and played their best for the rest of the match, losing the second set 25-20 and the third 25-19.  

Similarly to their 2016 season, the final game was defined by a rocky beginning before the cohesion of the team resulted in improvement beyond their expectations.  Overall, Tshimanga is satisfied with the results for her senior year.  She says, “We got to finals, which is something that wasn’t done before, so I’m proud of us.”