As the sun began to set, a championship dawned for Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi) who took the win against Chi Omega in the women’s sand volleyball league. Pi Phi was able to take the “best of five” set championship and walk away with an overall record of 4-1.
“It was a great game. They were a good team, they had great potential. I think it definitely came out to who wanted it more, and we were pushing for it. This was the second game playing with just us four, and it definitely brought the momentum together. That definitely kept us together working as a team,” said Pi Phi team captain Maddie Johnson.
Moreover, Johnson and her squad are excited to take home a championship, which has been the first volleyball championship for the sorority in a long time.
“We are super excited. I don’t know the last time we won a four versus four tournament. I know they had the weekend tournaments last year, but it has been awesome coming out on the end and know that we pushed through,” Johnson said.
Pi Phi faced a challenge before walking into the final match: they had only four players on the court, giving them no chance to rotate other players in for breaks. For Johnson, it was a challenge for her team to overcome and give them the chance to prove themselves.
“This was the second game playing with just us four, and it definitely brought the momentum together. That definitely kept us together working as a team,” Johnson said.
Pi Phi was able to grab the lead early, taking the first set 21-18, however, they became distracted with the outcome, and it allowed for Chi Omega to sneak in the second set, winning 21-15.
Johnson and her squad recognized the shift in their mentality and gave themselves the chance in between sets to reshuffle their focus. The sorority bounced back to win their third set 21-16.
“After winning that first match, I think we kind of just had a little too much in us thinking we would have it handed to us, and that is never the case. It is always you got to work for what you want, so I think that is what pulled us through and put us up on top,” Johnson said.
The squad faced more challenges in the fourth set, battling both a game losing light, and teammates losing steam. The final set came down to the wire as Pi Phi gave one final push to win it all 24-22. For Johnson’s squad, communication was the critical key to come out on top of Chi Omega.
“I think 100% communication is key. You hear that a lot in a lot of sports, but definitely for this game. We all communicated, and if it was bumping into each other just to get a ball and still got it up, it was worth it because we still communicated,” Johnson said.
One key outlook on this season for Pi Phi was the change of setting for playing. In the past, the games were played inside the ARC, but given the circumstances surrounding COVID-19, this season was moved to the Guild-Memorial sand volleyball courts.
For the defending champions, this change was both enjoyable and educational.
“I love playing in the sand, and I know that other players on the team definitely loved it too. The court is for six people, so coming out with four people you definitely had to know where to put the ball, know your space, know your area, and know where the other team is directing the ball towards,” Johnson said.