The International Changemaker

The Student News Site of EF Academy

The International Changemaker

The International Changemaker

Boys Volleyball Tournament

EF’s team stands in a circle after a home game, having a discussion with the coaches on February 27, 2024.

Early in the sunny morning on Saturday, February 24th, EF Academy’s boys’ volleyball team was departing for their first-ever tournament, hosted by one of nearby high schools and featuring a total of 8 teams. While the rest of the school was sleeping and enjoying their weekend, the team was quietly driving and thinking nothing but the upcoming challenge and possible outcomes. We had 4 games in total to play, and everyone was ready for a long volleyball day

Our team was the youngest out of the ones present at the competition, as we formally launched our inaugural season 3 weeks ago. Some of the opposing schools have been playing for decades. Considering the vast difference in preparation, we demonstrated great sportsmanship, and despite extreme pressure, we were able to win one of our matches.

EF playing our home game, Anson serving the ball on February 27, 2024. (Copper Clark)

Our first game was against probably the strongest team of the tournament, Rio Hondo Prep, a confident opponent with years of experience in volleyball. That game was perhaps the best performance of EF, as in the first round we were tied for the majority of playtime and lost only by 5 points. In the second round, EF was less impressive, but still managed to have lots of successful plays and demonstrate commitment. After the loss, EF didn’t give up. In fact, it gave everyone the spirit and motivation to try harder in the tournament.

Our next match was against Don Lugo, another experienced team with some of the most skilled players present that day. We had lots of tension and many awesome outplays, but the pressure was too intense, and we lost both rounds as well. We had a major break after that game for lunch and a post-game discussion, where Coach Nathan and Coach Parker gave the team a number of suggestions and valuable feedback. That, along with having some time to take a breath significantly helped us to prepare for our next game.

EF team is playing one of the tournament games in the Webb School on February 24, 2024 (Ben Hananel)

Our third opponent was South el Monte, a very competitive but also friendly squad. The game against them felt the tightest, and both teams were equally determined for victory. With the spirit we gained prior to the game, EF had taken the first round, displaying great teamwork and athleticism. But South el Monte was not done yet, and avenged themselves by taking the next round. The whole set was to be decided by the last, third round. Both teams demonstrated extreme effort, but we had less teamwork than before, which led to EF’s demise – a heartbreaking 1:2 loss against South el Monte, with a very close score.

After the end of the game, the team just sat in silence for a few minutes, before coaches intervened, forcing us to break down the game and go over mistakes. Everyone was devastated by the loss, but we had one more game to go, our final chance to perform the best we could.

EF’s team during one of the Webb’s tournament games on February 24, 2024 (Ben Hananel)

With mixed emotions, we went for the 4th game of the tournament against the team of Mountain View School. Both sides were seemingly tired after a long day, but still showed their competitiveness with lots of great plays. Just as before, we had taken the first round, and the opposing team won the second, but only this time, we kept pushing and beat them in the third round. After a series of games we couldn’t win, that last victory was so rewarding, that everyone celebrated. We shook hands with our opponents, and we were finally ready to depart back to our school..

Unlike regular games, tournaments such as this one are so much more valuable experience-wise, because you get to see much more competition, from all kinds of teams. As it was the first competition EF attended, our volleyball players learned a lot about the sport and the tactics that more experienced teams utilize. It was also valuable in terms of teamwork because we seemed to be united as never before, supporting each other no matter what. We went over some of the stuff we saw during the tournament with coaches afterward, which helped some of the players become more successful and prepared for upcoming games. This was the first introduction of the EF Boys’ Volleyball team to the larger Californian world of sports, and we all hope that this journey will be long and exciting.

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About the Contributor
Makar Kraev, Codeitor-In-Chief
Makar Kraev is Coeditor-In-Chief of the brand new EF Academy newspaper - The International Changemaker. He is an active participant in EF community life, including serving on the Student Council and as a School Ambassador, which he earned through effortful work and a noticeable dedication to leadership tasks. Makar stimulates his colleagues to achieve outstanding results in article creation and is excited to be amongst the first-year crew of the journalism class at EF Academy.

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