Oyster River Volleyball Takes on St. Thomas

The Bobcats circle up pregame with their coaches. 

The Oyster River High School Girls Volleyball Team were coming off back to back losses against Division 1’s Exeter Blue Hawks when they stepped onto the court against St. Thomas on Tuesday the 13th. The team rallied together to pull out a shutout win against St. Thomas. 

Maggie Sylvester (‘21) serves the ball to St. Thomas.

The volleyball team won 3 straight sets on Thursday night, securing their winning record of 5-4. The team has been facing harder competition this year such as Dover, Spaulding, and Exeter, who are all Division 1 teams. The Bobcats have been playing local teams in and out of their Division due to new COVID-19 policies. The Bobcats won the first set of the game 25-20. They continued to battle in the second set and pulled out at 25-15 win. Finally, they won a back and forth battle in the final set by 25-23, securing them a win.

Kim Gowell (‘22) jumps to block a ball from St. Thomas,. 

Starting with high energy in the first set and keeping it up throughout the game, the Bobcats battled hard until the last point.  “I went into today’s game really excited and confident, but I wouldn’t say cocky. I think we all went in with that mindset. We were prepared, and we all watched the game film of St. Thomas playing (and losing) against Coe Brown, who we beat previously, which gave us an idea of what we were up against. St. Thomas has always had a scrappy team, but we really played well tonight,” Kim Gowell (‘22) said. Gowell is one of the team’s middle hitters and was the first to score in the game. The teams tied, for the first time all game, during the third and final set at 11-11. The two teams had a back and forth battle until the final point. Eventually, Gowell was the last to send it over the net on a serve before St. Thomas made an error, giving the Bobcats their final point.

Lauren Hoppler (‘22) passes the ball to her teammates.

Maggie Sylvester, one of the teams outside hitters and captains was pleased with her teams preformance.  “We all played very well as a team. We didn’t lose energy throughout the whole game. When we play together and lift each other up, we play better. I thought we did that well tonight. Everyone had a good game.” The Bobcats worked hard to prepare for the game and practiced throughout the week leading up to the game. The team even tried something new and wrote down their goals on sticky notes prior to playing so they would stay focused and remember the results they wanted throughout the game.

Emilia Cavicchi (‘24) and Maggie Sylvester (‘21) congratulate each other after scoring.

This year, with the absence of student fans due to COVID-19, the Volleyball team has had to rely on their teammates to pick them up throughout the game more than ever. “Our dynamic is phenomenal this year. We are all so close, it’s really awesome because every year the dynamic seems to be getting better. We always stay in contact with one another which I think is helping us all get through this pandemic safely. We play games like “Among Us” together and send each other Tik Toks,” Gowell said. The team’s bond was visible on the court throughout the game via their communication. “I specifically remember when I went to run a 31 (a fast ball closer to the left side of the court) and the set was too far out. Maggie and I communicated and we still got the ball over, which showed really good communication,” Gowell said.

Emilia Cavicchi (‘24) passes the ball.

The players’ communication in the game was also apparent to the limited number of spectators who were allowed at the game. Nichole Cavicchi, a parent to two varsity players, Emilia (‘24) and Ella (‘21) Cavicchi was proud of the team’s improvement. Cavicchi has attended all of the games this season and agreed that the team’s communication skills showed throughout the game. “You could see them when someone couldn’t get to the ball doing a nice job of calling for it and telling other people what they needed,” Cavicchi said. 

Kim Gowel (‘22), Emma Hampton (‘23), and Emilia Cavicchi (“24) celebrate together. 

A big part of the game for the Bobcats is keeping each other up even when they make mistakes. The team has a variety of ways to hype each other up when scoring, such as individual handshakes and team celebrations. “Cheering and celebrating for teammates is a great feeling and making them feel good about their play is important. When everyone celebrates a point, it lifts all our moods and helps us stay excited through the game,” Sylvester said. 

Margeaux Burnham (‘22) jumps to serve the ball. 

 The Bobcats stand in 6th place in Division 2 this season, with two games left before the playoffs. The Bobcats will play St. Thomas again on the 28th during their first playoff game. The team is hopeful to finish the season strong and play their best game. “We’ve played each game with all we had for that night. All in all, I think we’re doing better than expected. We didn’t know how we’d do facing the majority D1 teams. But coming out with a few wins and good fights with them is awesome.” 

Emma Hampton (‘23) serves the ball. 

The Bobcats will face off against Division 1’s Dover for their final two games of the season on Tuesday the 20th and Thursday the 22nd before they head to playoffs. The Bobcats lost to Dover during their first game of the season 1-3 and are ready for their rematch. “We know they are a tough team. All in all we played our best against them the first time. This time we will fix our mistakes from the last game and improve in places we lost unnecessary points,” Sylvester said.