Spike It Up

Spike It Up

Benjamin Chodosch, Contributing Writer

After a two year hiatus, Spike It Up returned to Schreiber.  The volleyball tournament drew approximately 200 participants, with hundreds of other students lining the stands to watch.  Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was canceled last year, but based on the energy, atmosphere, and donations, it looks like Spike It Up is here to stay.

Behind the scenes, the Student Council, alongside Athletic Director Nick Schratwieser and the Physical Education department, advocated for Spike It Up to return.  Together, they worked tirelessly to overcome the obstacles and the threats that COVID-19 posed.  Constant postponements, plan changes, and reconstructions were made in order to accommodate everyone safely.  Spike It Up was supposed to occur on the Friday before Winter Break, but a resurgence in COVID-19 cases due to the Omicron variant put a halt to those plans.  

As a result, the Student Council had to patiently wait until another opportunity arose.  Finally, in conjunction with the administration, Spike It Up was set to return on March 25.  During the event, Student Council members signed the teams in, officiated games, collected scores, took pictures, and managed the crowds.  

“Although it was definitely tough because the gym was super crowded, it was also great because seeing everyone having fun made us feel like our work had paid off,” said sophomore Goldie Abrahams, an Executive Council member.  

From start to finish, Spike It Up stretched from third period through the beginning of fifth.  Although it was a long event, the atmosphere was constantly loud and electric.  There was not a single point in the tournament without plenty of cheering students in the bleachers, and at times, there was only standing room for spectators.  This tournament was a taste of the old normalcy both students and teachers have been craving.

As the tournament began, students of all grades and skill levels faced each other in teams of six.  Basic volleyball rules were followed, with the first team to reach 15 points emerging victorious and entering the next round.  The games were all exciting , but as the tournament progressed, it became clear that student-athletes and volleyball players had the upper hand.  In the final four, 75% of the teams were comprised of volleyball players.  

In the championship game, Los Pollos Hermanos competed against the Monkeys.  Although the final began in fifth period when students were no longer excused from classes, many students still lingered and watched.  Los Pollos Hermanos, considered to be the underdogs, consisted of JV volleyball sophomores.  Austin Hyde, Ezra Loewy, Harrison Roth, Joshua Sinclair, Max Baum, and Sam Mills made up this fan favorite team.  

On the other hand, the Monkeys were made up of some varsity volleyball players.  Juniors Zac Silfin, Ryan Epstein, Chase Pastolove, David Silverstein, Alec Goodman, and Tyler Duran were members of the team.  It was an intense match.  As the game started, the Monkeys got off to a hot start behind Silfin’s spikes.  However, Los Pollos Hermanos slowly started to gain some momentum, as they tried recovering from a large deficit with the help of the crowd.  Unfortunately for them, big defensive plays by Duran and Silverstein, along with the Monkeys’ overall chemistry and coordination, allowed the team to stomp out Los Pollos Hermanos’ comeback hopes and take first place.  

“Playing out there with so many people watching was awesome.  It felt great to win it all, but in the end it was all for fun and it was for a good cause which is what was important,” said Silfin after the match.  

With a mix of emotions from the crowd, both teams were congratulated for their play.

Overall, the Spike It Up tournament was a competitive, successful, and fun event for everyone who participated and watched.  It displayed how our school can come together and create a stress-free atmosphere, despite the tolls of the pandemic.  A combined effort from students, teachers, and administrators made it all possible. 

Spike It Up will be an annual event in the future, but many questions remain.  

For one, the timing of the tournament is subject to change.  Although Spike It Up was moved to mid-March from the usual pre-Winter Break slot, this may not have just been a temporary change.  It makes sense to have it on the last Friday before Winter Break for various reasons: students would not miss any important notes or tests, and the fun tournament fits the feeling of students preparing for their vacations.  

However, the March tournament includes some benefits.  In a month of no breaks, with AP exams approaching, students could all use a day of fun and light-hearted activity.  Also, the tournament-style event fits March especially well, given that the NCAA March Madness tournament also takes place around that time.  Lastly, many students are not in school the day before break, so having it take place in the middle of March ensures that all students who want to play will have the opportunity.

“I think there’s a case to be made for either side, but either way it’s a great event and should be continued for years to come,” said junior Jack McNaughton.

The event may have been for fun, but it also reminds us of a recent tragedy.  To honor Pierce Slutzky, a beloved Schreiber student who passed from cancer two years ago, all of the money raised from the tournament is donated to the American Cancer Society.  The funds raised from Spike It Up, in addition to extra donations from students and teachers alike, contributed to the donation of more than $1,500 to this charity.