By Joan Harris, contributing writer
Flashback to fall of 2020: the Nantucket Girls Volleyball team is thriving in their division, showcasing strong defensive and offensive aspects, and is going on to win the league championship, seemingly unaffected by the Covid-19 restrictions. This year is no different. With virtually the same lineup and head coach, the girls are on the fast-track to another championship win and, this time, they have little Covid interference. Senior captain Viktoria Krasteva continues to be an effective player and secure leader, as well as Chloe Marrero (sophomore), Bianca Santos (freshman), and Kacey Riseborough (junior), who have cemented themselves as valuable contributors in their respective positions.
On Sunday, October 17th, the Whalers faced off against Sturgis West, a team they fell short to just three days prior in a 2-3 battle. In this rematch, however, the ladies stepped up the plate and defeated Sturgis 3-1, with Kalina Natcheva (junior) having an impressive performance of six kills, four blocks, and 2 aces. Regardless, the team’s success cannot be attributed to a single player, as a major part of their prosperity is related to the unique chemistry and the bond that the girls share. Krasteva said that “the team’s chemistry improves daily. Volleyball is such a communicative sport so chemistry is extremely important to us.”
As for the strengths of the team, Krasteva says she “can’t name one because there are just so many”, a fact that is evident when watching the girls on the court. Each player brings their own unique set of skills to the table, displaying them in different ways.
Bianca Santos, a freshman setter who moved to the states just four years ago from Brazil, truly brings the energy to each game and practice. “(Bianca) has so much fire in herself,” Krasteva laughs, “Sometimes she even needs to keep the flame down because of how passionate she is about the sport.”
Junior Kacey Riseborough believes that an all-time high so far in the season was defeating Sandwich, a team with a victorious reputation, in a home match jam-packed with cheering students and parents. Going into the match, the girls knew it was going to be difficult and they would need to push their limits.
Riseborough says, “Sandiwch’s defense was extremely good and they kept the ball alive at a rate more than we did. We were down 2-1 and, in the fourth match, we changed our mindset and found our collective energy to win the following two sets. It was kind of exhilarating to come back like that.”
On the opposite end of the spectrum, a tough loss for the girls was their 0-3 game versus Dennis Yarmouth Regional High School. DY sits at a 93% win rate and will be a strong defender of the league championship.
As of November 3rd, the Whalers have a record of 12-6 and are third in their league; though they expect to rise in the standings if they continue to keep team morale and skill high. Riseborough has accumulated an impressive 151 kills throughout this season, as sophomore outside hitter Chloe Marrero follows her with 132. Additionally, the two are tied in aces, each with 76. Senior Amelie Roberts leads blocking with a total of 65 and Viktoria Krasteva leads digs with 150.
Overall, Nantucket Girls Volleyball is definitely a team to look out for as front-runners in their league championship and, as major players will remain next season, their one-year win streak may snowball into many. The loss of teammates like Krasteva, Roberts, and Yvie Scarlett will definitely be felt; though reliable players like Marrero and Riseborough will most likely step up to fill the difference. Nantucket High School is lucky to have such an accomplished and