On January 16, 2009,
the Varsity Volleyball team set a new
with 111 matches. How did a sport that
started just twelve seasons ago at Bancroft accomplish such success?
When Girls Volleyball began as a varsity sport at Bancroft,
no one could have predicted the tremendous success they would achieve in such a
short time. Their key to success started with a combination of skill
development, enthusiastic players, and strong coaching. But it continues
because of the commitment and dedication of its players, parents, the coaches,
the School, their supporters, and a strong sense of teamwork.
This teamwork is evident each time the team takes the court.
From their matching hair ribbons and choreographed cheers, to their upbeat
attitude that keeps their teammates going even after a missed point, the girls
are always focused on their team. The pre-game warm-ups are especially fun to
watch as you witness the rigors of Coach Gary Patch’s work-outs in a seemingly
orchestrated rotation of the players as they jump, hit, and dive. During the
games, the starters are cheered on by their teammates, and then they, in-turn,
become the loudest cheerleaders when they are on the sidelines. The entire team
exudes hard-work, perseverance, and a focus on each other that makes winning
In fact, the last time Bancroft’s Varsity Volleyball team
lost a match was in March 2004 when the undefeated team lost to
in the NEPSAC tournament finals. Since that time Varsity Volleyball has been
undefeated each year, winning both the EIL and NEPSAC tournament titles. Last
year, in the 2007-2008 season, they earned their 9th consecutive EIL title and
their 4th consecutive NEPSAC title.
On January 14, 2009, faced with the knowledge that the
winning record was in their hands, the 2008-2009 team—four seniors, seven
juniors, two sophomores, and one freshman—traveled to
opponents, Dana Hall. There, they didn’t let the pressure phase them as they
won the match, tying
110 consecutive wins. Then just two days later, at home to a cheering crowd of
fans, they defeated Pingree to set the new state record of 111.
Five teams have contributed to setting this record. Although
the faces on the winning teams change year-to-year, the ability of the Program
to develop its players, allowing freshmen and sophomores to step into positions
when upperclassmen graduate, is a testament to its depth. The leadership of the
older girls instills a sense of confidence in the younger players, who in turn
become leaders. And based on the team’s history, success in the years to come
will continue as the enthusiastic younger players are inspired to keep the
winning tradition alive.
Says Coach Patch, “It is ultimately up to the players to
continue the success of the program at Bancroft. We have a team philosophy that
everyone buys into, but they are the ones on the court that need to execute…Part
of the difference in the players that I have, and those on other teams is that
they can not wait to get out on the floor and work. We do have fun, but the
team works harder than many people give them credit for.”
As of mid-winter break, the 2008-2009 Varsity Volleyball
team has ratcheted up the record to an amazing 119 consecutive match wins. With
a strong determination, and a commitment to team, there is no stopping them.
Article and Photo Credit: The Bancroft School