The 2019 season for the UNIS girls JV tournament was full of new relationships, team spirit, and successes. This year’s team consisted of co-captain My Nguyen, co-captain Mia Kritenbrink, Victoria Moro de Mendoza, Kitty Tran, Didi Bullard, Elaine Dang, Tey Le, Sarah Anthony, Isabella Brazil, Ngoc Nguyen, Hari Jang, Trang Pham, Carmen Cortizas, and Abigael Goosey. The team first participated in and won first place in the local HAC tournament hosted at Concordia International School Hanoi. Then, we traveled to Saigon South International School in Ho Chi Minh City for the final MRISA tournament. After three days of fantastic volleyball with five other teams, we received third place.
The level of play in MRISA was considerably higher than in previous games our girls had faced, with all of the other teams participating being those at the varsity level. Despite the difference in age, we persevered and demonstrated amazingly positive attitudes in every game, showing a determination to never give up no matter the score. An honorable mention from the tournament must go to the three pairs of colorful socks, one for each day, that were worn by the travel team to boost team spirit. Featuring hot dogs on the first day, popsicles on the second, and avocados for the third, these socks were just one of the ways that our team made an effort to foster a family atmosphere, which showed in the way that we played and really banded together as a team. Our amazing back row players produced incredible “3-point” passes, our setters set beautifully for our hitters, and our spikers absolutely killed it! There were only words of encouragement spoken on the court, and in a sport that is as mentally exhausting as volleyball, supportive teammates are key to success.
It’s safe to say that our team has made incredible progress throughout this season in terms of individual skills and working together as a team. As co-captains, we are extremely proud of our awesome team for how far we’ve come from the group of mostly uneasy strangers to the highly functioning volleyball machine that we’ve become. All the hard work and effort that we’ve put in, ranging from extra morning practices to planning outfits on game days, definitely paid off, and the memories from this season will be ones that we will keep forever. We’re going to miss being with these energetic, goofy, yet powerful players. It was an honor to be a part of this team!
Mia Kritenbrink and My Nguyen