Mills College Volleyball team won their last match of the season last Sunday, Nov. 4th, which marked the closure of the Fall season.
At 7 p.m., students, friends and family assembled in Haas Pavilion to cheer on the volleyball team in support of their hard work and dedication this fall 2007.
The defending team, Pacific Union College (PUC), had already been defeated once before this fall by the Cyclones at an away game. According to Elese Lebsack, Compliance Officer and Sports Information Director, the two matches of Mills vs. PUC laid out similarly. Lebsack said there were four games in each match and that Mills coincidentally lost the third game both times.
“Team performance was a little shaky throughout the match,” said Head Volleyball Coach Daniel Rasay, “but at times people really stepped up and we were able to pull through. There were a few individual athletes who were especially solid, steady players throughout the whole game.”
Rasay mentioned players like Loke Davis, Rebecca Frank and Danielle Thurlow-LaRue.
According to Daniel Rasay, currently in his second year of coaching Mills Volleyball, athletes demonstrated great performance and improvement overall this year, though, at times he felt that the team didn’t play up to their true potential. “I have seen great improvement this season and although our statistics don’t noticeably show it, we are coming up to be one of the tougher teams in NAIA,” said Rasay. “I think anyone who attended matches will agree that our defense stood pretty strong this year.”
Sophomore and team member Sally Espinosa agreed with Coach Rasay that Mills Volleyball supporters were a main source of encouragement and excitement for this season.
Enthusiastic and dedicated volleyball fans attended multiple matches, providing the team with cheers, reassurance and a drive to play their absolute best. Lively feedback created a more uplifting and intense atmosphere during matches, which may have ultimately led to some of their closer games.
“Cheers from the crowd gave the team a good sense of comfort, which made it easier for them to play,” said Rasay. “The encouragement supporters displayed had a great impact on the team’s success; it was like having an extra player on the court.”
Both the coaches and team agreed that this season they improved more than they had expected to. “It was an incredible season for everyone,” said Espinosa.
Espinosa started recognizing team improvement during a home game against Bethany, which everyone knew was going to be a tough match. “Supporters stuck with their team and their cheers composed a lot of optimism for all the players,” she said.
Although last year was more competitive, expectations of the team and coach were higher this year, according to Rasay.
“As a team we’ve stuck through and made better statistics than last year,” he said.
As far as coaching goes, Rasay said his experience this year was relatively easier than that of last year, partially because a few returning athletes were used to his coaching style and able to help out.
For senior Nadia Ghani and nursing student Mia Acosta, this season marked not only accomplishment for the team as a whole, but also their last opportunity to play volleyball on the Mills team.
Acosta will not be returning to Mills next fall. Both Ghani and Acosta were honored for their great contributions at the end of the match.
“It’s always nice to win the last match of the season,” said Rasay. “I think it leaves everyone with a positive attitude and an optimistic hope for next season”.
Rasay said this included coaches, fans and the atheletes.