By Divine Hanna
Family, friends, and students were on their feet, anticipating the winning point at the varsity girls volleyball game. The final set determined whether they would win the match. Within a minute of the last play, sensation flooded the Cal State Northridge court as the team finally won their first CIF LA City Section Open Division match since 2017.
The team was victorious, winning against Taft High School with a score of 3-1 (25-16, 23-25, 25-22, 25-18). The persistence and determination of the team did not go unnoticed as the bleachers were filled with support from students and family alike.
It has been a painful road to this victory, however. In 2020, Granada Hills Charter (GHC) lost to Palisades Charter High School in the finals. The year after, they reestablished their victory to Pali in the semi-finals, but lost to Venice High School in the final game. This year, the team practiced like they never have before to successfully secure the City Section girls’ volleyball title.
“It honestly felt so good, especially knowing how varsity got second place the past two years. Finally winning first was really nice,” senior Noa Lee said.
This victory would be Coach Tom Harp’s seventh CIF title in his 15 years of coaching GHC’s volleyball team. His demonstration of leadership inspired the team to play to the best of their potential.
“The only issue was making sure everyone was healthy and having the whole team here to play in full string,” Harp said.
Unfortunately, prior to playoffs, outside hitter Hannah Bernstein was home due to illness. With the absence of a strong player and hitter, the team had to play two games without her, including the semi-finals against Venice. However, the team was able to win, despite her absence, perhaps knowing she was with them in spirit. Bernstein rejoined the team for the final match, however.
“I did have some concerns because I hadn’t played or even really exercised for the previous two weeks, but I knew that I would quickly get back into it and play my hardest,” Bernstein said.
Although her absence did cause some worry, Bernstein was able to lead Granada to victory as she led with 19 kills.
In preparation for this game, students stayed after school during practice to perfect their technique, which built strong bonds between the students and harvested a greater sense of teamwork.
“We had amazing team chemistry on and off the court which allowed for us to easily fill in when we were missing a starter due to some of the many challenges we faced this season,” Lee said.
After winning the city finals, GHC’s volleyball team went on to play against Eastlake High School on November 8 in San Diego for a state Division 2 game. While the girls lost 1-3, they finished the season with an impressive 23-7 score.
This season was filled with exciting matches and many achievements, including successfully bringing home a well-deserved championship title and ring.