Haas Pavilion was a packed house as the current Mills Volleyball team dominated in a four-set friendly game against Cyclone alumnae on Sept. 25.
Both current and alumnae teams played a close match on the court with high energy and Cyclone spirit. The volleyball alumnae – whose years on the team range from the 1990s to last season – kept up with this year’s team without previous practice.
This year’s alumnae team had the highest turn out ever with 16 members. Alumnae flew in from all over the country for the chance to play again at Mills.
Alumnae Tina Ong, a graduate from 2002, was excited to see old teammates from when she played from 1998 to 2002 as a setter. Ong notes that she has come a long way since playing volleyball at Mills.
“Walking up to the Pavilion was surreal,” Ong said. “It was getting all those flashbacks of the memories of all the practices that I had in here.
Head coach Loke Davis played for the alumnae team rather than coach her team from the sidelines. Davis, a Mills alumnae, played for the Cyclones from 2005 to 2009. She looked forward to the alumnae game so that she can once again have the perspective of being a player.
“When you coach it is easy to separate yourself from that position [because] you forget what it [is] like,” Davis said. “I think it is important to put yourself position so you know what it feels like again.”
Co-captain Janan Salaam believed that the alum game was the best game that her team has had this season. She was especially motivated to win this match since the team would face their coach.
“I wanted to prove to [Davis] why I was on this team, why I was a captain, and why I play volleyball,” Salaam said. “I wanted to show her what I can do and there was no pressure.”
The current team set the tone for the game with great communication and touches on the ball. Passer Amber Meza dominated on the court with her high-powered spikes that would catch the alumnae off guard. Her attacks on the net would either even the score or give the current team the lead point.
By the fourth set, the alumnae came back and were able to even the scoreboard. Brittney Dockerty, who played from 2013 to 2015, started the set off strong for the alumnae after scoring the first three points with powerful serves over the net. Both teams were able to keep a consistent rally with each other until the current team was able to take the lead and win the final set by seven points.
“The fact that [the current team] won reminds the alumnae that Mills volleyball is a thing,” Salaan said. “We are trying hard to keep up that legacy for them and want [the alumnae] to be proud of us.