MRISA Junior Volleyball Girls

On the fifth of May, 2019 the UNIS Hanoi girls got ready to play SSIS to get into the championship game. As we walked onto the court, we knew we would play hard until the end, no matter the score.

The season began with some uncertainty. We had two returning players Isabella and Jada. Only one was on the MRISA travel team. The rest of the team: Sophia, Michelle, Abi, Beeke, Kiara, Trang, Lily, Elione, Ngoc, Saki, Carolina, Sarah were either completely new or have been playing for just one or two years. At the beginning of the season, we were all individual players. We lost our first game against BVIS in three sets and our second game to HIS in three sets. But losing wasn’t all a bad thing. It encouraged our team to improve and bring ourselves together as a team. As practices and games passed and we neared the MRISA tournaments, we continued to improve.

Throughout the season, our team continued to grow with the help of our amazing Coach Cortney, who worked us hard, up until we left every practice more conditioned than the last. Our team benefited from all the extra sessions we put in over weekends, holidays, and even before school.

Our entire team shakes their heads when we think about our first couple of games and how poorly we played. Luckily, thanks to our wonderful coach and our team’s dedication, we grew individually and as a team and gave everyone at MRISA a run for their money. As we look back and think about our SSIS game, we couldn’t be prouder of how hard and intense our team played against this championship team!

Jada AL-Iesa and Sophia Chagas

Boys Volleyball – MRISA Jr Runners Up!

After an undefeated season in our local HAC tournament, the Middle School Boys Competitive Volleyball team stayed in Hanoi for their season finale MRISA Jr. tournament. Six teams played a round robin for the first two days and on the last day the finals. This year’s team was made up of Captains Segdae Lucardie and Min Yong An who led the team with great spirit and leadership. Our middles Nam van der Wielen, Harald Hogberg and Kiet Nguyen lit up the court with all their blocks and spikes. Our fantastic outside hitters Heedong Cho and Toby Fujii Bennett were consistent throughout the whole season getting hits off the charts. Our reliable Opposites Perry Baek, Hieu Nguyen, Aoi Ito and William Francis all played exceptionally well when it came down to the close moments. Last but not least our Liberos who were amazing, Takao Saito and Minh Khoi Phan were as helpful as always.

Our Phoenix came out strong and took the first match solidly against SSIS in a nearly error-free match of beautiful volleyball.  After winning all the round robin games we were ready for the Finals. Since we finished top of the ladder we went straight to the semi-finals playing ISE Eagles, who were looking very strong. ISE challenged us the entire game but with the strength of our blockers and the skills of our hitters, we moved onto the Finals against SSIS.  In the Finals, our middles contributed to our offense with well-placed hits and strong blocks, our setter Segdae was being tactical the whole game choosing who to set to and when. Minh Khoi was making great receives and setting up attacks.  We lost the first set, but we were able to bounce back in the second set with Min Yong’s incredible serves. We won the the set making it 1-1. It all came down to the last set, both teams tired from the previous sets making every play their best. It went all the way down to the wire unfortunately SSIS got the better of UNIS Hanoi on the day. All the boys were full of pride and exhaustion for playing such a great tournament that we will all remember till the end of our lives.

 

 

Congratulations to the boys for representing UNIS Hanoi proudly. Congratulations to Min Yong and Segdae for making the all tournament team. Thank you to all the players for their commitment and dedication on and off the court with practices, extra workouts, and Saturday open courts, while also managing school work. Thank you to our parents for allowing us to spend so much time developing our game and finally to the crowd for going along on the journey the whole season. There were ups and downs and you were always there for us. A big shout out to all the people who supported the team and dedicated their time towards this volleyball side, Coach Schneider, Coach Richard, Coach Rohan and Coach Momo. And one last special thanks  to Coach Keri who helped us improve our skills as volleyballers and as people. She has taught us the fundamentals and skills that a volleyball player needs to succeed, so from all players of the UNIS Hanoi MRISA boys team we thank you so much. You are a committed, dedicated, passionate coach who loves the sport and leads by example. We are looking forward to coming back next year and winning the title.

Who’s House?
Our House!

Who’s House?
Our House!

Phoenix on three, one, two three Phoenix!

By Segdae Lucardie and Min Yong An.

Historic Volleyball Season

In 2018, the Varsity Boys Volleyball team had a historic year culminating with the Asia Pacific Activities Conference (APAC) trip hosted by Seoul Foreign School in Korea.  This year, we entered the season with last season’s disappointment weighing on our shoulders, but we had a strong foundation of returners with APAC experience under our belts. With the culture change felt across our sports programme and the positive vibe from the team, we entered each game with confidence, no longer allowing the mentality of being okay to lose in our heads. Our school arranged for ex Olympic volleyball player and coach, David McKienzie, to start off our year with a 3 day-intensive camp for coaches and players. This start became the spark which would last us through to the end of the season. The opportunity brought forth new and old players alike, and we became more aware of the potential of this cohort.

Practices were very difficult at times. We were each dealing with our own problems, whether it be college applications, a broken leg, or the usual teenage pains, but at volleyball practices we found escape in the strenuous rope jumps and suicide runs up and down the court. Here, at least, we could all suffer together, and laugh at Lenny for breaking his leg prematurely from a motorbike accident. And Mo’s horrendous tipping. Never again, Mo.

Local league games started the second week of the season, and we ripped through the Hanoi Activities Conference (HAC) schedule, going undefeated and winning both the HAC Championship and the HAC Cup.  As it turned out, our second team was the second best team in Hanoi, and proved as such winning the HAC Cup with the starters supporting from the sideline. Before we knew it, APAC came around, and Jacob was late to the airport. We rode the bus to the airport with the excitement of ninety year olds, because it was 7:30 in the morning. However, with our bags stuffed with our jerseys and Haribos, we were ready to play and put all our hard work to the test.

Game day came, and we started off the tournament with our first win against Western Academy of Beijing (WAB), which we would later face in the finals. We fought through the grueling round robin portion of the tournament, earning the first seed, and the boys lost it. We were in the semifinals. UNIS  Hanoi team in the semifinals, what even?!

Prior to our game against Canadian Academy, a few jerseys were wet, a few muscles worn out, but our spirits were stronger than ever. We sat around on the soccer pitch outside the gymnasium, and in this moment, we saw the culminating point of our team. Here was a squad of boys who played their hearts out on the court, and this would carry us to the finals after a 3-1 win over Canadian Academy. Finals baby.

Lenny brought it down with the first hit of the finals, and with that, we pulled the first set off 25-21. With our gears cranking and motions in place, we won the second set as well, albeit at a smaller deficit of 25-22. Struggling to maintain our fire, we slipped on the third set, losing it 19-25. However, undeterred, we brought back our A-game, proving difficult for WAB. We were going 1 point back and forth, and before we knew it, it was 24-24. With an influx of emotions and stress pervading our mind, we dug to our roots, clutching our ears, whispering Woo Sa, and we clinched the next point, making it 25-24. And perhaps the most memorable moment is when Charlie served the ball for the final point and ran in to play defense, Mo and Richard put up and intimidating block that forced the WAB middle attacker to push the ball out of bounds, giving us the 2018 APAC Championship. The celebrations were intense and all over the place, tears of joy, shouts of pride, and support from our amazing girls’ team took over the gym. Finally, APAC Champions!

Afterwards, we sat on the reflection staircase outside the gym, and Charlie and I could not be prouder to captain this group of boys. Series of congratulation videos were sent from home, and we felt even more the heftiness of this win for the UNIS Hanoi Sports Programme. We felt like heroes. We also realized we had to dye our hair…

This season’s success would not have been possible without our coaches, Coach Tarique and Coach Boy. You guys pushed us to our limits with your dated jokes and back to the basic drills which frustrated us, but we all secretly knew it was for our own good (“Starts with a pass”). We credit this success to you. A special shout out to former players Yoav and Jake, we take this moment to thank them for their continued positivity and transformative effect on UNIS Hanoi sports culture. We also want to thank all our previous coaches and everyone who was a part of this journey, with special thanks to Coach Mac for setting the foundation and for Coach Giller for her passion and enthusiasm in providing opportunities in the off season to get better.

We are very proud of the special place this team will hold in the UNIS Hanoi history books. First APAC championship of any kind for our school. Keep it rolling – GO PHOENIX!

By Rohan Gowda and Charlie Wood, Varsity Volleyball Team Captains