Injuries derail hopeful season

VOLLEYBALL The girls started 2-4 in league and are 3-2 in tournaments.

Justin Prakaiphetkul, Asst. Sports Editor

Despite a 2-4 start in league, the Diamond Bar High School volleyball team remains optimistic about reaching the CIF Playoffs for the second year in a row.

“The key to turning it around for us is going to be controlling our mental game,” head coach Katie Swetnam said. “We’re a very skilled team but sometimes we fall to the mental pressure that we put on ourselves…we’re going to have to learn how to control our heads .”

The team started its season with a 3-0 loss against Glendora. The Lady Brahmas defeated Bonita in their second league game in three sets and then lost to Ayala in three sets.

The Lady Brahmas were beaten by South Hills in four sets, taking the first set 25-16, but losing the next three with scores of 25-18, 25-22, 25-16. The team then lost 3-0 against Claremont.

“So far I’ve really liked how scrappy we’ve been. We’re hustling for the ball, diving on the floor and we’ve been smart offensively,” Swetnam said.

Figueroa stated that she is looking forward to facing league rivals Glendora in a rematch today.

“In the first game against [Glendora], we weren’t really connecting as well,” Figueroa said. “Now, with more practices and better [chemistry], we really have a chance to beat them.”

With injuries sidelining middle blocker senior Charis Doi and outside hitter junior Emily Chiang for the remainder of the season, Swetnam stated that she will be looking for the other girls to step up in their place. Doi sustained a concussion before the season began and Chiang suffered a sprained knee.

In tournament play, the Lady Brahmas finished with a winning record after participating in the Diamond Ranch Tournament and the Ayala tournaments.

The girls began the Ayala Tournament with a 2-1 win over Centennial. In the second game of the tournament, the Lady Brahmas lost to Palm Desert 1-0 in a close contest with a set score of 25-23. Despite finishing the tournament 1-1, Figueroa stated that she was proud of the team’s performance.

“We had so much energy. We wanted to win so badly, but sadly we couldn’t,” Figueroa said.

At the Diamond Ranch Tournament, the team finished with a 2-1 record. In their first two matches of the tournament, the Lady Brahmas dominated the Vivian Webb School, 2-0 with scores of 25-12 in both sets, and the team knocked off Patriot 2-0 with scores of 25-15 and 25-22. However, DB lost in its third match against Ontario Christian 2-0 with two sets of  25-17.

From having to play at Chaparral Middle School during the preseason to now competing in the newly refurbished gym, the girls look forward to playing in home games as the season progresses.

“[The gym] feels great. The new floors have a little extra bounce,” Swetnam said. “It feels like we’re jumping higher, and it feels a lot brighter in there. Other teams have noticed it as well.”

As the captains of the Lady Brahmas, Figueroa, senior Hannah Wangsa and Chiang are responsible for communicating with the team on a daily basis to keep the girls from dwelling on their mistakes, along with keeping the entire team motivated throughout the season.

“As team captains, we’re trying to become role models in that we shouldn’t focus on what we’re doing bad but rather focus on what we’re doing well,” Figueroa said.

In Swetnam’s second season, Swetnam has already left a lasting impact on Figueroa.

“I love her as a coach,” Figueroa said. “She shares her passion for volleyball with us all the time; it has really helped us improve and we work hard for her too.”