On November 10, 2014 Archmere Academy’s Varsity Girls’ volleyball team won the state championship after a 28 year drought. They didn’t win because they had a ringer. They didn’t win with power hitters. They won because they worked together as a team, as a family, and because when Auks fly together, they accomplish amazing things. Emily Dentinger, a member of the team, reflects on the win with a week’s worth of retrospect.
The ball hit the ground.
It wasn’t like in the movies, when a moment of complete silence pervades the gym. It was just noise. So much noise. We had just won the State Championship, and we were screaming.
Looking back on the season, I don’t recall any signs of a championship team. We never spoke of the state title because, frankly, we did not think that we had a shot. Don’t get me wrong- we wanted to win. We just didn’t think we could.
On August 18th, the first day of practice, Coach told us that we had a mountain to climb. That statement meant that a.) the season was going to be a trek, and b.) we should all get on the end line to run a revised suicide, aptly called a ‘mountain.’ Our early practices were filled with high hopes, passionate determination, and, of course, tons of conditioning drills. As the season went on, something became very apparent. Not only did the players realize this, but so the coaches and other teams. We were not the best volleyball players in the state. We were athletic. We had heart. But we didn’t have a hitter that could put the ball away. We didn’t have power.
Attending a school with an extremely rigorous curriculum and extremely high standards taught me, above all things, that I have to acknowledge my weaknesses (and I have to manage my time, but that’s a different story). I have to acknowledge that integrating trig functions and finding the impulse of an elastic collision is not my strong point. I can’t pretend that I know what I’m doing. I can’t fake my way through a class.
That was the attitude of our team. We acknowledged that we had a fundamental weakness in the front row. We knew that we were not as strong as many of our opponents. I strongly believe that our acknowledgement of our weakness was the key to our success. Because we acknowledged this shortcoming, we were able to adapt. We didn’t accept our weakness, we worked through it.
That being said, the real strength of our team wasn’t a skill or a specific player or anything actually volleyball related. Our strength was our commitment to each other and our relationship as a team, both on and off the court. We are Auks. We are family. We trust each other and we need each other. Playing with this group of girls was easy in the sense that we had good chemistry on the court. Archmere is a haven for passionate people. I don’t think I could have asked for any more heart or dedication; each and every player was so invested in and devoted to this team and its success.
I mentioned at the beginning that every player on the team was screaming as the final ball dropped, resulting in our victory. Well fifteen screaming girls doesn’t account for the extremely high decibel level in that gym. Archmere is a family, and it was our family that was screaming from the stands, drowning out any and every other sound. Community isn’t a strong enough word to describe the Auks, it isn’t powerful enough to capture the essence of Archmere. When we didn’t believe that we, as a team, could win the state title, we had 600 fans and friends to believe for us. That is family.
— Emily Dentinger ’15