The Journey from Last to First Runner up: Introducing the U19 Girls Volleyball Team

On the 15th of October, the volleyball season concluded with the BSG’s U19 girls team. Although they lost their match against AISG in the finals, the season was a tremendous success for the team. The team had made a massive leap from last place in volleyball matches last year to second place this year.

BSG Times exclusively interviewed three members from the team, Captain Stephanie E, Valerie Lye and Bethany Jayesinghe to reveal the stories behind the scene. Read all about their hard work, team spirit and the true passion that fuelled the team’s success - and the amusing moments during their training!

The very start of the journey: why do they love volleyball?

Stephanie E:I remember that it started when I was 13 years old and I was just a freshman in secondary school who joined the volleyball team with my friends. At first, I chose volleyball because my friends asked me to, but after awhile, I found volleyball a really interesting sport! I enjoy playing volleyball with my teammates - we can have a lot of fun when we are practicing. We shared our laughter, anger, sorrow and happiness together. In every single game, no matter if we lose or win, we will always cheer for each other. We always think positively and try our best to improve. This is why volleyball, a team sport, motivates me so much, and why I am falling for it. I can always learn something from every single game, whether physically or mentally. I was impressed that volleyball can create a really strong bond between me and my teammates: this bond will only be stronger, not weaker.

Bethany Jayesinghe: To me, volleyball is a very interesting game to be a part of and to watch; there is never a dull moment, as every point counts. It is amazing to watch how some teammates are so in sync with each other that they anticipate the other's move. Furthermore, I believe that volleyball players embody the definition of teamwork and what it means, because no volleyball player can single-handedly win the whole match. The trust and reliance that is needed between you and your teammates make you a closer team than usual.”

An album of memories: highlights of the season

Best memories of the season

Valerie Lye: “I really enjoyed watching our team grow and improve since the start of this year or even since last year. I think that training 4 times a week definitely helped with our improvement, and our dedication was what brought us from last place last year, to second place this year in the league and tournament.”

Bethany Jayesinghe:One of the best memories was in fact coming back from our first tournament. Izabela had brought her Bluetooth speaker with her and was blasting music that could be heard throughout the bus. Everyone on the bus one way, shape or form was singing along, some were rapping- and your age no longer mattered as everyone felt really comfortable with each other and we bonded as a team."

Stephanie E: “I am so glad that I have a chance to be a part of the BSG Girl's Volleyball Team and to have a lot of fun with my teammates. We were fooling around, playing and joking with each other. We practised around 3 times per week; sometimes we felt tired because of the amount of school work, but we are still willing to go for early morning training, starting from 6:45am. We need to wake up extremely early twice a week when most of the people are still having their sweet dreams. For me, my enjoyment in volleyball training with my teammates is such a motivation for me. Besides, one of the best memories I have in mind is when we got first runner-up in the GISAC volleyball. Certainly, we had lost against the AISG team but I am really proud of our team. I can only say that we are the best and we are the history maker in 2016-17 for our school volleyball team.”

The Most Memorable Match

BSG times asked two team members what was the most memorable match for them this season. Surprisingly, they both gave us the same answer - the match against AISG (the only match that they lost in the season!)

Stephanie E:When we played against the AISG team in the league games. I was really proud of my teammates as they did their best in the game; although we lost to them with 1:3 in the end, all of us (including our coach Miss Dunne) were happy. I did remember that everyone was asking me before the games if I had the confidence to win against AISG, since they are the top team over the past few years. My answer for them was, ‘I don’t know how strong or how good are they, but all I know is that I need to focus and do my best in the game and always think positively with confidence, not caring about how good the other team was, just thinking about how good I can be.’ So, as a captain of the team, I told my teammates to not be afraid of losing but just do their best in the game and improve. When it comes to the games, we did it, and I set a target for our team every time. We try to reach our target but also enjoy playing volleyball. At the moment we won against AISG in the second set, everyone of us was really happy because we never thought we will win against AISG. But we did. And this is why I said that we need to be confident and believe in ourselves.”

Valerie Lye: "Out of the 5 schools we played against, we only lost to one, which was AISG. However, the game against AISG was in fact my favourite game as I think that we’ve never played better than during that game. Even though we lost the game, I still think that we put up a hard fight and managed to have quite a few nice rallies."

It’s not just a journey to success…

Whilst we genuinely congratulate all members of the team for their tremendous success in this season, it is also equally important to realise that playing sports is not only about winning. The ending of this season was one that was inevitably mingled with the happiness for success and a sense of poignant sadness, because for some senior members of the team, this was their last season representing BSG. The senior members told us about their emotional journey and what they have gained from playing volleyball…

Thoughts and feelings on the last match?

Stephanie E: “I feel sad and I am not willing to finish volleyball games too soon because it was my last volleyball season in high school, but I am very happy that the Yr 13 girls had made history in the volleyball games and I will never feel any regret for any part of this. I hope that my juniors can do better than us and keep improving in their volleyball life. I really hope that the reason why they play volleyball is because they like it and enjoy it, and that they are not just practicing for winning the games."

Valerie Lye: "As it was my last volleyball match in BSG, I felt sad yet excited at the same time. I wanted to give it all I had and aimed towards the first place trophy. Even though we ended up achieving second place, I still felt extremely proud of the team and I realised that all the hard work and time that we put in was definitely worth it."

Bethany Jayesinghe: "The last match is always the hardest in my opinion as there are a million thoughts running through your head. You are wondering if it will be the same next year, you are sad because some of your teammates won’t be here next year and this will be your last match with them. Additionally, there is a lot of pressure to end the season on a high note, subsequently you want to win the game and work as a team well."

What have they gained personally?

Bethany Jayesinghe: “Being a part of this volleyball team really taught me a lesson in commitment and perseverance. There were times when I’m sure all of us wanted to quit, however I believe that going to all the morning trainings and after school sessions ended up being one of the main reasons we came second in both the league and the tournament.”

Valerie Lye: “I know that I have repeated this several times during my interview but I still have to emphasise that hard work and dedication leads to success and results. I also learned the importance of teamwork and that it is important to trust your teammates.”

…And don’t forget all the fun along the road!

A member of the volleyball team also shares some of the interesting moments during the trainings with BSG Times - after all, besides the hard work and the ultimate success, volleyball is a sport that is all about coordination and enjoyment!

Bethany Jayesinghe shares with us how the team worked together:

“One early Tuesday morning, for some reason we didn’t seem to be very alert; the ball constantly falling to the ground was a clear example of this. Mr Robb therefore gave us an incentive to keep the ball off the ground: whoever let the ball touch the ground would have to run a lap around the court. However we were so out of it that day that even this didn’t seem to wake us up, so instead he changed the punishment to running around the court until the next person made a mistake. There were times when we would purposefully wait to serve just to watch the person running run a little longer. (That’s the way our team worked, constantly teasing each other.)”

Advice for Junior Students

“You will need to stay committed and be willing to work hard, because if you are willing to sacrifice your free time for the sport, you will improve and succeed. I have been lucky enough to witness my entire team improve through hard work this season." Valerie Lye

“Try your hardest to go to the morning training. These morning trainings not only bond the team together but also give you a lot of confidence in your abilities. If you are mentally strong during a match, it goes a long way." Bethany Jayesinghe

Final Scores

BSG versus CIS 3-0 Won

BSG versus ISD Won

BSG versus UISG 3-2 Won

BSG versus UISZ 3-0 Won

BSG versus AISG 1-3 Lost

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