A Family, Not Just a Volleyball Team
by Marleen and Silvia, members of the AISA Girls Varsity Volleyball championship team
This year's volleyball season was unforgettable! Throughout our time on and off the court, we found ourselves in a family, not just a team.
As the much-anticipated AISA (Association of International Schools in Asia) tournament approached, we were excited yet nervous about playing the best teams in Korea and Japan. We were prepared to make the event one of the best of our high school years, and even more so because YIS was finally hosting it. As we strived to improve through hard work and a few losses, we learned to pick ourselves up, building our momentum towards getting YIS into the finals. And that's exactly what we did.
Playing on our home court provided us with more determination as we knew the stands would be filled with supporters to cheer us on. In fact, we want to thank everyone who came out to support us; the cheering was one of the biggest factors that helped us progress through the tournament.
Our two-hour game against Korean International School was one of the hardest and longest matches we've had! Part of the challenge was having to often refocus our emotions in order to play our best volleyball. Through this game, we learned to be patient and compose ourselves as a team, remembering to perform our team cheers to boost our emotional state.
Another challenge we faced was the semi-final game against Senri Osaka International School. Although knowing Osaka's skill and teamwork definitely intimidated us, it also made us even more determined to win. This game went on for five brutal sets, testing our skills to the very limit. We each motivated each other to maintain our spirits. Those on the sidelines did this exceptionally well.
After this win, we were already really proud of ourselves and the improvement our team had achieved. Before the final game, we took time to reflect on the past season and appreciate all the amazing memories that formed this family that is our team. We thanked our seniors for all the time they dedicated to building a close knit team and putting the team first, like organizing a team sleepover even when they had important assignments due the next day.
Coming into the finals, we were committed to protecting our home court advantage against our Yokohama "rivals", St. Maur. It was the Yokohama showdown. We were relatively relaxed coming into the game, because in our hearts we had already won. After winning in three straight sets, we hadn't even comprehended that we had won the tournament until our amazing coach joyfully screamed from the sideline: "Go shake hands, we won!"
The whole team burst into screams and tears, forming a big group hug as we realized the season had come to a happy end.
The championship win marked the first time since 2014 that YIS had won the prized AISA tournament.