New Year, New Coach, New Achievements
With a birth in the State Tournament starting Saturday, the Horizon Christian High School Girls Volleyball team gives us a breakdown of their success.
Bringing in the passion and drive for the sport, new coach Jay Lazaro Director of the Empower Volleyball Club brought a new found sense of direction and synergy on and off the court. The girls found strength under Coach Jay’s leadership to drive them to work as a team and give it their all.
“He is such a fun and caring coach that really impacted my volleyball experience,” explained senior Madison Jones.
“Jay has gone above and beyond for us girls, which shows through our success,” acknowledged senior Lauren Eyerly, “We always put in effort and have fun along the way because of the positive energy Jay brings.”
The combination of the girls' deep relationships and the coaching they are receiving has lead to their accomplishments. “Most of the girls played together since 8th grade; it has really helped our team’s dynamic connection,” disclosed senior Becca Classen, “Jay’s knowledge of the game and encouraging coaching style was the key factor on why we have been so successful.”
Coaching isn’t all these girls have going for them, Classmates and family members brought the noise and encouragement each game. From the theme dress up nights, to Spongebob chants, and even competitive push ups during timeouts, the crowd gives all they have to show their support to the school.
"My favorite thing the crowd does during games is when they do the pushups or the charger magic," stated senior Jaycie Forrester.
“To be completely honest, we would not have been able to make it this far without the support of the school. When the crowd is cheering, we can’t help but directly feed off their energy. They pick us up when we have nothing left, all because they believe in us,” admitted Eyerly.
“Our fan and parent section is unbelievable,” stated Jones. “[Their support] truly helps us play harder and faster because we feed off their energy.”
“The student crowd played a huge role in how the game went. Without the energy the crowd brings, we would not have made it this far,” continued Classen. “It is truly an amazing feeling when you hear your school chant your name.”
Even when under pressure, the players channel their strength through encouragement from teammates and the crowd. “When it’s a close and intense game, my teammates calm me down and I think to myself, just have fun,” explained junior Jazzy Lazaro.
“My teammates encourage me by always supporting me in everything I do. In practices, they push me to my limits which pushes me to do better in everything,” explains Jazzy Lazaro.
The team is excited to have made it to state but they realize they are not done yet.
“We want to finish strong in the State Playoffs,” explained Coach Jay Lazaro, “We have been working very hard at practices. Our varsity team has demonstrated some fantastic plays throughout the season, thanks to our back row passing, superb setting, and terminating hits.”
Preparing the players for their potential all season, Coach Jay always asks his players “What's your ‘State’ of mind?” Coach Jay’s passion for the sport is transparent in the way he coaches his players. It is inevitable that the players catch on to the coach’s enthusiasm.
“[When] an athlete comes to me very excited and asks, ‘Coach, did you see my hit?’ Hearing a player be so excited about what they have accomplished in such a short amount of time, brings joy to my heart,” coach Lazaro explains his favorite part about being a coach.
This has been a season of many firsts, for not only our high school varsity team, but also our JV team, as well. As a JV team, Horizon finished the season strong with a 9-1 record with great expectations for what next year has to bring.
Team success leads to individual honors as well. Horizon was blessed to have 6 of our varsity players recognized by the league for their outstanding play. Sophomores Alyssa Smith and Katie Graham received Honorable Mention All League. Seniors Jaycie Forrester and Becca Classen were Second Team. And for the first time in school history, Horizon had two players recognized as 1st team All League: awarded to junior Jazzy Lazaro and senior Lauren Eyerly.
Continuing the success of Horizon Christian School’s Volleyball program, the Middle School A-Team also had an unbelievable season, finishing first in league and heading to the championships as well.
“One favorite memory [from the season] was playing Corbett, our biggest rivals,” explained middle school A-team right side hitter Leah Clements, “We won our first set, they came back and beat us in the second set, and [then] we ended up beating them in the third set 15-13.”
Horizon Christian High School Varsity team will play at Forest Grove High School against South Umpqua on Friday, November 2nd.
Horizon Christian Middle School A-team will play in the high school gym next Thursday, November 1st at 4:00PM for the League Championship.
Join us in prayer as our Volleyball program pushes towards their championships. We hope to see you this Friday, November 2nd at 10:00 at Forest Grove High School! Make sure to wear your purple & gold!