At MVHS, varsity players are associated with upperclassmen like juniors and seniors, but sometimes teams use junior varsity players to their advantage. Some players get pulled up to play for their varsity team as early as sophomore year, and with a young player on the roster, their potential and their ability to improve increases drastically.
SOPHOMORE SKYLAR PLOSHAY
As she strode onto the field to play her first-ever varsity soccer game, her walk slowed and nervousness stained her mind. She made her way to the coach and explained her concern, but was quickly reassured that she was going to be fine. She knew she had the skill to play, but she did not know if she would be able to show it. Sophomore Skylar Ploshay was pulled up to play for the MVHS girls varsity soccer team during her freshman year, before the regular season has started. She was surrounded by girls who had years of experience. “[The varsity games] were really hard because [players] have to keep track of everyone on the field and how they are playing,” Ploshay said. “You have to know how fast this person is, how well this person can kick the ball whereas in JV it was much easier to figure out.” Ploshay explained how her time on the team during her freshman year helped her become a better player this year because she had one year of experience under her belt. She found it easier to adapt and play well in tough situations. “I went into games knowing what to expect, knowing how to do certain things,” Ploshay said. “Going into games, I am not freaking out and I know what to expect.
SOPHOMORE HENRY HODGKINS
When sophomore Henry Hodgkins first set foot in the boys varsity football locker room, he was welcomed by the smell of worn-out, tired and sweaty football players. Now a part of the varsity team, he knew that he would have to adapt to the heightened level of play, and that started with adjusting to the atmosphere in the locker room. Being pulled up halfway through the season, he had to familiarize himself with the setting and slowly realized that he was part of something more than a team. “I knew all the juniors pretty well,” Hodgkins said. “The seniors accepted me into the locker room and they were all kind and made me a part of the team.” Hodgkins explained that he never felt the pressure of being on varsity. He always tried to play his best and believes that one of the main reasons he was able to succeed was because of the support he received from his teammates. “Just from the practices, I was able to tell that [the level of play] was a lot more competitive and fast,” Hodgkins said. “On varsity, everyone is much faster and physical and on JV it was a lot more slow.”
JUNIOR JOCELYN CHANG
It was a fastbreak, she ran up the court constantly looking back, observing what her teammates were doing with the ball. As she neared the end of the court, she quickly noticed the ball coming to her. Realizing she was wide open, she caught the ball and went up for a shot. The ball seemed to travel in slow motion as it made its way to its basket. She missed, and even though she was not taken out of the game, this memory stuck with her for the rest of the season. Junior Jocelyn Chang shares her experience playing on the MVHS girls varsity basketball team as a junior and the difference of competitiveness from JV to varsity. Being unfamiliar with the differences in skill level, adapting was a struggle that she had to overcome throughout the season. “Every time we would mess up, the coach would take us out so we never wanted to mess up,” Chang said. “The problem is if you [are] on the court for a long time, it would always be your fault for something wrong that happened on the court.” Being a JV player for two years prior to varsity, Chang was accustomed to playing at a slower pace. Once she became a member of the varsity team, competitiveness and pressure slowly started to become a prominent factor in every game. “Varsity is definitely more of a big deal, so more people come watch,” Chang said. “Varsity was a bit more terrifying because when I messed up, I would get penalized and there was a point where I [even] thought about not playing.”