Lady Cardinals ranked No.1 in state for Division 1A
Season record, 19-0
By Jan-Mikael Patterson
Special to the Times
SAINT MICHAELS, Ariz.
Monday evening’s practice for the St. Michael Indian School Lady Cardinals volleyball team was all about preparation, organization, and above all, fun.
The team was divided into two teams as they played five sets with the starters comprised of one team. Although the competitive spirit was showcased, the atmosphere included laughter as players smiled.
The Lady Cardinals were recently ranked No.1 in the state for Division 1A with a 19-0 season record. None of that seemed to bother them.
“I wasn’t surprised, I felt it was well deserved of our team,” said St. Michael coach Andrea Ashkie, who is in her fourth year as head coach. “We have been doing really well all season. We’re undefeated in the 1A division. It’s always rewarding and I think the girls are well deserving of that spot. It wasn’t much of a surprise to me because we worked hard all season.”
Ashkie knew at the beginning of the season that the team would be strong with three senior players returning.
“There’s minor ups and downs that the girls go through but nothing major,” she said. “They’re experienced enough to work through it and they come to a state where they can play the game independently.”
During practice, the team’s communication displayed experience as well as a comfortable atmosphere. Teammates showcased encouragement and support for one another through the good and bad plays.
“We remain competitive and keep our practices the same as we did before,” Ashkie said. “We’re not making any changes keeping our practices similar to what we have been doing and we’ve gotten this far doing what we are doing. We continue to strengthen our mental game.”
“I think we’re going to win, no doubt,” said Rylena Nez who plays libero. “We practice hard everyday and I know we’re going to do good.”