Girls Volleyball City Champs! – by Griffin Auciello

It has been a tough season for the Manchester Memorial Girls Varsity Volleyball team, and it has recently wrapped up so it is time to take a look back and reflect on the whirlwind season that is now behind them. The girls officially finished the 2015 season with their last practice this past Friday. It was a bittersweet ending for the team, which finished with a regular season record of 1-17 (excluding the city tournament), ineligible to make the Division 1 playoffs. The team ended the season with a loss at Nashua South three sets to one. For those who aren’t familiar with the sport, the standard volleyball match is played in a best out of five game (set) format in which a team must win by two points in order to claim each set.

It’s always tough to go out with a loss, but at the same time it’s also somewhat beneficial to step away from the game for a little while, clear your mind as an athlete, return to the fundamentals, and begin to prepare for the next season.

The Crusaders’ single win came via shutout against city rival Manchester Central at home three sets to none. However, this was not the final meeting between these two teams. All four Manchester schools (Memorial, Central, West, and Trinity) met in the city championship, which took place in the beginning of October. The city title was determined by a “round-robin” tournament format such that the day began by each team playing each other once in an effort to determine seeding. Due to the time restraint of only one day, each match consisted of one set instead of the usual best of five. The result of the first round was that our very own Crusaders beat out Trinity (two), Central (three), and West (four) to acquire the number one seed in the tourney. The second round matchups pitted Memorial against West and Trinity against Central in a best two out of three match. The Crusaders beat West 2-0 and Trinity shutout Central 2-0 as well, sending Memorial and Trinity to the final round. In the end, Memorial clobbered Trinity 2-0, going a perfect 7-0 in the city tournament. This was a feat that was most likely not expected all season so needless to say that Coach Cygan was very pleased with his team’s performance that day.

When asked about the struggle his team endured throughout the regular season Coach Cygan made it very clear that it’s solely a mental issue, not by any means an inability to perform physically. “We definitely have talent, but mentality has been our adversity.” Cygan continues by adding, “The skills are there, but the mental stuff is what it takes to be successful.” He also notes that this season they faced Alvirne (7-11) and Londonderry (9-9), a couple of tough teams, for the very first time. Overall, despite the less than perfect season, he is extremely proud of what his team has accomplished, especially being able to bring the city title and trophy back home to Memorial. We as students here at Memorial are also very proud of our team.

The girls fall season may very well be over, but there is plenty of volleyball action left to be had for Coach Cygan and the students here at Memorial because this spring will mark the second year of the very first Memorial Boys Volleyball team. Last year was the first year in which a group of male students interested in volleyball worked with Coach Cygan and school district officials to start a boys volleyball team. Currently it still has yet to become an official sport, but one thing is for sure, there is no lack of anticipation for this spring’s squad. Last year’s unofficial first season drew a lot of interest. The school already has all the equipment, it’s just a matter of the city hopping on board with it.

So for now we say goodbye to girls volleyball until next year when we’ll see if they can rise to the challenge, meet their own expectations, and capture the city title once again. However, for the remainder of the year we’ll look forward to the boys season and be sure to support Coach Cygan and his athletes no matter what.     

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