The Independence Girls Volleyball Team


Alora Smith, and Nathalee Osuna, writer

Volleyball is a complex game that requires devotion which was shown by the girls on the Independence High School team this year.  It is a team sport in which two teams of six players are separated by a net. Each team tries to score points by grounding a ball on the other team’s court under organized rules.  

Coach Michelle Monaghan was an important part of the Independence Girls Volleyball Team and the 2021-2022 season overall. She had many touching things to say about the season and team. One thing she enjoyed this season was the team’s spirit week. She stated that she loves spirit week, and that “it makes everyone on campus see who the volleyball players are because they dress up the same. It’s nice to show there are leaders on campus by how they dress.” The girls would typically show their pride by doing their own spirit week on their first and last game.

 Monaghan felt that it was easy to bond with them because her team were good kids. In fact, her favorite thing about coaching were the kids. She liked to have fun with them and watch them grow and learn each day. With the  end of the season, the coach said she would “miss the girls and their personalities.” She will also miss their spunk and expressed that “they were fun, even though they don’t think they were fun, they were fun.”

According to Patience James, a player on the JV team, volleyball became a major part of her life. She spent a lot of time practicing and preparing for games. She definitely plans on pursuing it in the future, or at least for the rest of her high school years. James said that volleyball had never “had an effect on my grades. If I’m being honest, was it overwhelming, yes, but if you’re working hard and had the support I did then it’s worth going through it.” Despite these facts, she still persevered through the volleyball season and made it a time she wants to remember. She said her best moment for this volleyball season was during her team’s last game when everyone was laughing and crying. It was just a bittersweet moment for the volleyball players because of the bond they formed during their season. Overall, James had a wonderful time being part of the volleyball time and loved the experience. 


Madisynn Slivnik, a senior Varsity player on the  Independence team, has yet to decide if she will be pursuing volleyball in the future. However,  she did have a lot of great moments with her teammates during the season. Her most memorable moments with her team were during their summer volleyball league and the practice at Hero’s Park because those were the times she “truly got to connect with her girls and have a good time with them. They were totally themselves and I was able to connect with them easier.” When asked if losing a game was a hard hit to the ego, Slivnik stated “wins always of course helped my ego get higher and made me feel well, but in ways so did losses. Although we didn’t always win, I was proud to be able to walk off knowing I tried and got to play with my team, especially my seniors who I knew would potentially be my last time playing with.” Slivnik will be leaving the volleyball season with mixed emotions. She is glad to say she played her best everyday. 

Another senior Varsity player, Jennifer Villalba, said even though she played the sport throughout high school, she does not plan to pursue it as a professional career because she is aspiring to become a veterinarian. However, she did have memorable moments during this season and with her team. They helped her on senior night after her parents and best friend did not make it to walk her down, but they all had her back and made the situation so much better.  Villalba also enjoyed their team spirit days which they only did on game days in order to show patriot pride. Regarding wins and losses, it did not necessarily matter to her if they lost or won. While that fact did not affect her ego, her performance during her games did. Fortunately, she felt as if she, as well as, “every player on the team did, and that’s one of the things that I appreciated most about Mono and the other coaches.” They made the effort to communicate with her and offer advice in order to better herself. When asked about juggling school and volleyball, Villalba stated that it did not really affect her grades. When she thought she was falling behind, she talked to Coach Monaghan and was able to take a day off to catch up. She said, “Volleyball didn’t prevent me from being a student first.” This sport presented Villalba with many opportunities and a wonderful season with the team.

Lastly, Princessa Nevarez, who is also on the Varsity team, said that while she plays volleyball in high school, she plans to continue playing in the future. One aspect of the game that she enjoyed was that every time they scored a point, everyone that was in the crowd watching her would cheer. She had a lot of people coming from school counting on her to win the game, and some of them were friends that she knew. At a certain point in time, Nevarez had gotten behind on her assignments, but she worked hard in her classes and got straight A’s while enjoying her volleyball season. During the time that they had been going back and forth on wins, her teammates would get upset.  However, they learned to forgive each other and grow. Nevarez said, “Losing makes me feel like I’m not a good player. But I learned that me and my team would not stay mad and could learn from our mistakes.” Nevarez also said, “If you were going to join volleyball, then make sure you get some practice before joining.”

Independence High School has an amazing girls volleyball team that represents the school in many ways. They received a lot of help and support from Coach Monaghan and their fellow students.