Screams of “I got the ball!” and “I’ve missed you” filled the Matador Arena as Matador alumni and current varsity members of volleyball reunited to play the beloved sport on June 19 at their annual volleyball tournament hosted during the summer.
The games started at around 9 a.m., and they were divided up into two small courts, one for boys and one for girls.
The boys’ current varsity volleyball team started by playing against alumni, which was challenging for the boys, but the varsity team managed to win all three sets with scores of 25-18, 25-20, and 15-9. After the game ended, they gathered to shake hands and hug.
On the other side of the court, the girls’ varsity volleyball team played three full sets against alumni, winning all of them with scores of 25-18, 25-21, and 15-12. They too shook hands and hugged after the first game and prepared to play more games later on in the tournament.
As the hours passed by, the alumni eventually had to leave because they had work. The tournament thus ended in a two-by-two competition, which consisted of two players as a team versus two other players, and had immediate knockout rounds, allowing the rest of the other pairs to keep rotating in and out.
Passer and incoming senior Gabriela Gonzalez helped her team win against alumni and had a great time being able to compete with her old teammates.
“This is motivation, to see these alumni girls come out and go for every ball,” Gonzalez said. “Every play, it shows you have so much more to give.”
Recent graduate Jaleen Lujan said that it was enjoyable for everyone who had participated. From helping coach Larry Kanow set up the tournaments to playing as an alumna, Lujan has participated in five tournaments.
“It feels as if I’m reliving the past, playing with my old teammates, as I’m not used to seeing their faces anymore and now I’m playing with them again,” Lujan said.
The alumni volleyball tournaments have been held as an annual tradition since alumnus Bic Ta and coach Chris Kwan started the games four years ago.
“We had both boys and girls playing matches, [and] about 67 alumni showed up [this time],” Kanow said. “It was a good challenge for the varsity to play experienced and talented [alumni]. It’s always fun to see the alumni [again] and catch up on their new adventures in life.”