After losing to Arundel High School in the Class 4A girls volleyball state semifinal round, Eleanor Roosevelt’s team gathered on the court, laid in a circle and did one more postgame cheer. The routine consisted of seven hits on the floor, seven claps, then three and one following the same pattern.
It’s a tradition that’s been with the Raiders long before any of the current players were on the team. It is how they end every practice and every match. There was no other way to end the season.
“It’s closure for each thing we do,” Raiders senior Raquel Shortt said.
Said senior Meya Ngundam, “It’s just so important. You can’t end without it.”
Seniors say it’s the closest team they’ve been on during their time at Roosevelt. Bonding came in unconventional ways — waiting for a school bus to take them to one of their various practice sites or practicing outside when a gym wasn’t available. When it came time to face Arundel, Roosevelt’s stiffest competition of the season, the connection between the teammates led to some of their best play of the year.
“Everything that we’ve been through made us closer as a team,” Ngundam said. “The chemistry tonight was just so good and it was one of the highlights.”
The Raiders were eliminated in three sets (25-20, 25-15, 25--18), but kept sets close largely because of their defense.
India Mason led the block at the net and behind her girls were sliding all over the floor. Ngundam may have hit the floor the most, laying out and sliding across the Ritchie Coliseum floor for balls.
Sophomore Kristin Watson said they were doing it for the six seniors, which coach Eileen Lloyd said she’ll miss.
“I can’t say enough about them,” Lloyd said. “There’s a story with each one from what I’ve seen from the beginning to the end. They’re just an awesome group.
“The one thing I always love about this team is how they always pull together, and they’re about each other and they care about each other. We’re all about team. No matter what, we’re always about team. I love that about them and I think these seniors exemplify that.”
The season may not have ended with a state title, but Roosevelt still ended the season with plenty to take away. It was the seniors’ first trip to states and they walked away happy with their performance.
“This was an amazing opportunity for us, our senior year, to finally get that chance,” senior Kirsten Fast said. “We took advantage of it and we played really hard because we were really excited. We weren’t just going to let that go.”