They say that after everything disappointing, something better comes. Last year, we swept the elimination round of the Metro Sports Volleyball league, only to be eliminated in the knockout game against Elizabeth Seton. This year, things were a little different. Similar to last year, we were able to sweep the elimination round, finishing with a perfect record, and claiming the top seed in our division. Our greatest challenge would be up ahead of us, in the semi-finals.
This team we were facing was unlike any other team we played against. Although we had played against other UAAP teams such as Ateneo and UST, going up against NU seemed different because they were a lot more mysterious to us. We didn’t know how they played at all, and that put us at a disadvantage. In a team that is riddled with various injuries and pains, the mountain only seemed to grow steeper and steeper.
We played our hearts out, only to be disappointed. After a closely fought first set against NU, they managed to wrap it up in two straight sets, eliminating us from the championship run, 2-0. It brought our spirits down, it broke us, tested us, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. For a moment, it seemed like the team that was united only a few hours ago was lost. But even if this match was over, the season wasn’t. We still had one more chance to make a difference. Although we could no longer win the championship, there was still something that we could grab, and that was the bronze.
You don’t normally hear people aiming to get bronze, however, in this situation, it was something that we really needed. Not because we wanted the medal, but because we knew that if we didn’t put up a fight, our season would have been all for nothing. We placed first in the standings, but didn’t fight in the playoffs? Doesn’t seem like a Xaverian team to us. “One Pride, One Glory.” How exactly do we bring pride to the school? How exactly do we bring glory? Sure, we lost in the semi-finals, but that didn’t mean that everything was lost. And so, with heads held high once more, we stepped onto the court.
It seemed as if this game was one of the scariest and fastest paced games I’ve ever experienced. It wasn’t because the game was a speedy back-and-forth type of game, but rather because the pressure was a great deal to handle. We were against the top seed of the other division, AGC. We fought our best, in a close game, and it came down to the final set, with each team sitting at 1-1. This final set that was a race to 15 would determine who walks away with nothing, and who gets to go home with something; pride and glory. Building a foundation on teamwork and perseverance, the final whistle blew, and as the referee pointed his hand toward our side, the sense of adrenaline faded within me. “We made it,” I thought. We all made it.
It was a great and memorable tournament, because despite our shortcomings in the journey to win the gold, it taught us that even if we fall down, no matter how painful, we can always get back up.