By Izzy H. ’22
I matriculated into Harvard-Westlake knowing practically nobody. I was the only person from my elementary school to attend and so I was immediately in need of friends, which, thanks to volleyball, proved very easy to find.
As a fall sport, volleyball is a great way to introduce yourself into the Harvard-Westlake community from the get-go. I began Harvard-Westlake in 7th grade and was immediately embraced by the volleyball team. The coaches and my teammates were so welcoming and practices and games were great ways to bond with my new classmates. The team was a great socializing opportunity, but it was also competitive and filled with talent.
I played volleyball throughout my time at the Middle School while simultaneously playing club for a club team. In 9th grade, I began playing at the Upper School. I was on a team called the “Training Group” and it was a large group that every game was divided into JV and Freshman depending on how we were performing that week in practice. Although I think the team has since returned to a set Freshman and JV team, the Training Group was a great way for me to consistently be working my hardest throughout a week’s practice. I was attending school on the Middle School campus, but playing at the Upper School. In order to get from campus to campus everyday, all athletes took the shuttle. The shuttle left the middle school during the last period of the school day to take us to meet our upperclassmen teammates for practice. On these teams at the upper school, our practices were made up of both lifting and volleyball.
The next year, I was on varsity. Although I was by far not the best on this team, my volleyball abilities improved drastically due to being surrounded by such talent. Being a high school volleyball player at Harvard-Westlake requires you to be in town at the end of the summer as that is when practices begin. In August, the varsity team played in the Ann Kang Invitational Tournament in Hawaii. This trip was absolutely incredible and I was able to bond with so many upperclassmen. Aside from playing volleyball, we went on a boat ride, swam at stunning beaches, and ate delicious food while in Hawaii. We luckily were able to complete our season before COVID, however, we unfortunately didn’t have a season my Junior Year.
This year, as a Senior, I am so excited to join Harvard-Westlake’s first ever beach volleyball team in the spring. I just recently transitioned from indoor to beach and have been playing for a club team. It is so much fun to be able to go to the beach after a long day at school and play.
Looking back at my almost 6 years at Harvard-Westlake, volleyball has been such a huge part of my experience and I would not be the same without it and the unwavering support of my teammates and coaches.