News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

News From the Students, For the Students

The Griffin Gazette

Los Al teachers take on girls varsity volleyball

The student team defeated the teachers in a riveting 14-10 match
Bella Kim
Girls varsity volleyball and the 11 staff players gather for a post-game photo.

LOS ALAMITOS, CA — Packed with students, the Los Alamitos High School gym echoed with the cheers and groans of the crowd as the girls varsity volleyball team faced off against a lineup of Los Al teachers. The match took place during lunch on Monday, Sept. 18 and ended with an exciting student victory. 

“I wanted to congratulate the girls varsity team for a great match and on the win! Shout-out [to] my teacher teammates for getting out there and putting our best effort into the game,” Mr. Brown, Los Al’s film teacher, said.

With skill and teamwork on both sides, the competition was fierce; throughout the game, the score shifted between the teachers and students. ASB member Jocelyn Vlasic commentated the match, which was organized by ASB, girls volleyball coach Mr. Huber, and Mrs. Brodt. 

Mr. Brown, Mrs. Brodt, Coach Bowe, Coach Kelly, Mrs. Cowan, Mr. Fenton, Mr. Hong, Mr. Hyepock, Mrs. March, Mr. Whitcomb, and Mr. Lee represented Los Al staff. Some of the teachers played volleyball at a collegiate level, like Mrs. Cowan, who played volleyball at High Point University in North Carolina. 

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Girls varsity volleyball, made up of seasoned veterans and newcomers, has entered their season strong. In August, they placed third at the Ann Kang Invitational Volleyball Tournament in Honolulu, an annual pre-season tournament for the top girls varsity teams from high schools across the country. 

At Monday’s match, teachers and administration, including Ms. Troutman, Mrs. Weber, and Mrs. Vienna, cheered on their coworkers from the sidelines. Students took up almost every seat in the bleachers, with more spilling in through the doors. 

Before the match, members of girls volleyball ran through setting drills to warm up and, it seemed, intimate their opponents. However, the teachers started the game with a solid serve by Coach Bowe, a beloved football coach and substitute teacher on campus. The gym rang with shouts and applause for him. 

Los Al’s girls varsity volleyball team, victorious after their win against the teachers. (Bella Kim)

But the student team made a quick comeback, tying up the score at 3-3 with tricky hits to the teachers’ defense. 

“Our varsity girls are no joke!” Mr. Brown wrote in an email. “It felt impossible to score on them at times. You could tell they had a very strong chemistry and communication. Hats off to them, they really showcased what it means to play as a team.”

Mr. Brown, Mr. Lee, and Mr. Hong took some hard falls attempting to block girls varsity’s attacks. 

“[Mr. Hong] was putting his body on the line play after play to help his team. That’s dedication!” Mr. Brown said. Mid-game, Mr. Hong made a spectacular dive for the ball, landing hard and injuring his knee. 

“I’m sure I’m going to be feeling it tomorrow. A little shaky right now,” Mr. Hong said after subbing out. 

Mr. Whitcomb also showed up for the teachers, taking the middle blocker position for his team and executing multiple impressive blocks and spikes. The score went back and forth until finally tying up again at 10-10. Despite the teachers’ valiant efforts, the girls varsity team won the game with a final score of 14-10. 

“I’m not sad because I tried my best,” Mr. Hong said.

“[I’m] pissed off,” Coach Kelly said humorously.

“We didn’t lose… we just ran out of time. A comeback was on its way,” Mrs. Cowan wrote in an email. 

I never realized just how difficult playing volleyball is. I have a crazy amount of respect for our varsity team and what they have to do to play every week! When that ball is headed to your face at 100 mph, it’s hard not to freeze!”

— Mr. Brown

Girls varsity players Nalani Childers, Elon Milroy, and Valerie Cardenas agreed that Mr. Whitcomb was their biggest competition in this match. Mr. Hong, Coach Kelly, and Mrs. Cowan also named Mr. Whitcomb as the teachers’ MVP. 

“While Whitcomb has earned other volleyball accolades, I am sure winning MVP of the game yesterday will go down as one of his greatest achievements,” Mrs. Cowan said. “He brought fire, enthusiasm, and experience.”

“Whitcomb was a stone wall of defense, and Hyepock had some nasty offense,” Mr. Brown said. “But Mrs. Brodt, Mrs. Kelly, and Mrs. Cowan really carried the whole team!”

Ryan Kephart, a sophomore spectator, was rooting for the teachers. He said that he thought Coach Kelly was the teacher team’s MVP, as she coaches Los Al’s boys varsity volleyball team. 

After the match, Coach Kelly jokingly called out her teammates for their subpar volleyball skills.

The teachers pose for a team photo, in good spirits despite their loss. Not pictured: Coach Bowe and Mr. Whitcomb. (Bella Kim)

“I think they could have tried a lot harder,” she teased. “They could have stuck their platforms when they were passing. They don’t know anything about volleyball. They have no fundamentals, and I’m tired of it!”

“I feel like they may own the classroom, but we own everything else,” Milroy, the student team’s libero, said. 

“[Feeling] great; we just took that dub [win],” Childers, middle blocker, said post-game.

This event may be the first of many more teachers vs. varsity team games this year, according to Mr. Brown.

“All I’m saying is, put me on the football field, and I am locking down any receiver who lines up against me,” he said.

“We had a great time helping the girls prep for their big game this week and showing school spirit,” Mrs. Cowan said. “You defeated a great team today, and hopefully you can continue with this momentum.”

Childers and her teammates said they were feeling “pumped up” for their game on Tuesday against Edison High School. The dress-up theme for Los Al was to wear all black.

As the great Coach Huber once said, ‘Go, fight, win… go Griffins.'”

— Mrs. Cowan

“I’m really excited,” said Cardenas, setter.

“Black out the Chargers!” Milroy said. 

The teacher vs. students volleyball game hyped up Los Al’s support for the girls volleyball team and kicked off the week with a spirited campus event. Los Al girls varsity volleyball continued their winning streak by beating Edison 3-0 at yesterday’s match. Catch their next game, this Thursday, Sept. 21 against the Newport Harbor High School Sailors at 5:45 p.m. in Newport Beach. 

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About the Contributor
Bella Kim, Editor-in-Chief | Co-anchor
Bella Kim is a junior at Los Alamitos High School. This is her second year with the Griffin Gazette. An editor last year, her article "A Los Al senior’s podcast: ‘The Sy-STEM’" won a Best of SNO award. Over the summer, she was part of the first cohort of JCal, the Asian American Journalists Association and CalMatters' journalism program for California youth reporters. Currently, Bella is The Youth Center's marketing intern and Planet Women's first Youth Ambassador and Reporter. In August, she finished her five-month internship with Spotlight Schools. Bella has a passion for ballet and has been dancing for over ten years. Currently, she dances at Premier Dance Arts of Los Alamitos. When she’s not in the studio, Bella enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, playing piano, and going to the beach. She also likes musicals, roller coasters, and collecting tote bags from bookstores. On campus, Bella is co-president of the Literature Appreciation Club. She aims to uncover truth and tell people's stories with her reporting. As editor-in-chief, she is excited to lead the Griffin Gazette in its second year of publication.  You can contact Bella at [email protected].
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  • M

    Mrs. KrausOct 1, 2023 at 1:30 pm

    Such a well-written article. I had many laughs as I read!! Such a great way to foster fun and connections with students and staff! Congrats to all!!!

  • K

    Katie ArnoultSep 21, 2023 at 9:18 am

    Go girls varsity volleyball!! Better luck next time, teachers!