Sports

Lady Chiefs Volleyball: County Champs

By: Christine Infantolino

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The James Caldwell High School Girls Volleyball Team competed their way to victory during the Essex County Tournament. The Girls Volleyball team had a 500 season this year, the highs were high, but the lows were low. The team was discouraged about their major losses on their “Dig Pink” game and Senior Night, but going into this tournament they knew they had something to prove. The girls knew this would be a memorable accomplishment and were determined despite being named the 6 seed.

 The first round of the Essex County Tournament, Caldwell did not have to play due to a bye they received. The first game was against West Orange who they beat in two sets and have competed with before on numerous occasions. The first set Caldwell won by a hair with a score of 27-25 followed by a score of 25-22. The second game was against Verona, an all time rival of Caldwell Volleyball for 10 years now. This game was a nailbiter with the close score of 26-24 in the first set. The second set was a cleaner performance by Caldwell, the ending score being 25-19. 

Continuing to fight, Caldwell was up against MKA which was a number 2 seed. They 

put up a good fight the first set, but in the second set they got shut down by the team’s amazing performance. Standout players in this game were Ava Panullo with 5 kills, Christine Infantolino with 5 kills,  and Sarah Sherwood with 12 assists. 

After this game, Caldwell was motivated to bring it home against Livingston at Bloomfield. The  Essex County Finals were awaiting the team on Saturday, October 23 at 1:00 pm. This was the most important game of the season and everyone came to deliver. The first set the girls got out on top and began with a 7-3 lead, but Livingston went on a service run bringing the score even to 10-10. The girls did not get discouraged and decided that this was a wake up call and went on a run securing the 8 most crucial points of the game. This led them to their victory in the first set with a box score of 25-18. 

The second set Livingston jumped in front of Caldwell with an 8-3 lead to begin the game. Then Caldwell retaliated and evened the score to them leading 10-9. The following play chaos ensued, as Infantolino spiked a kill over the net off a set from Sarah “Woodchuck” Sherwood. The team celebrated in a frenzy and all piled onto the floor together. 

In a statement after the triumph, Head Coach Kelly said: “We like being the dark horse, but we were confident out there for sure!” This game was described by the team as a once in a lifetime opportunity. 

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