A shark’s bite is devastating. But the bite of the injury bug is deadly.
The Malibu High School girls volleyball team lost four players to injury during their 3-2 (25-19, 25-23, 22-25, 13-25, 6-15) loss against the Grace Brethren Lady Lancers on Thursday, Oct. 9.
“It’s like whatever could go wrong tonight definitely went wrong,” head coach Airess Padda said.
At one point in the fourth game, the Sharks were forced to play the Lady Lancers five-on-six. One of the four injured players, Haiden Bohm, returned in the fifth game, but was limited physically.
Ava Bolander went down in the first game after hurting her left ankle and had to be helped off the court by several of her teammates.
But injuries in the second game were what did the Sharks in. Almost immediately, Natalie Aldrich hit the deck and also hurt her ankle. Then near the end of that game, Ellery Smoller went for a dig and hit her head on the court, giving her a mild concussion, Padda said.
At that point, Malibu only had six players for the rest of the match, and were unable to use substitutions.
“To only have six people play all the way around, no subs — and to know that there’s no subs — it wears on you physically and mentally,” Chelsea Bostwick said.
Despite the injuries, the Sharks still found themselves only one game shy of sweeping Grace Brethren. But fatigue started to set in, and the Sharks started to lose their composure.
“With everything that happened — all the fatigue, all the mental errors and all the different spots that we had to play in — I just felt like that’s what took over,” Ally Sidley said.
Malibu only lost the third game by three points, but then Bohm hurt her knee in the fourth and had to come out of the game. Malibu then only had five players to go against the Lady Lancer’s six, and got blown out, 25-13.
Bohm’s return in the final game gave Malibu a full team of six, but the damage had been done by then. The Sharks lost 15-6.
Bostwick had an uneven offensive game, and admitted she was distracted by her teammates getting hurt.
“I think I let my mental play get in the way too much,” Bostwick said. “There were just times where I would think about the injuries or I would think about other things and I would just let it get in my way.”
Padda was proud of the effort put forth by the team, and said they can take some positives out of the game.
“I thought tonight they fought at hard as they could,” Padda said. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen them push like that.”
Sidley felt the team learned that they can play through adversity.
“In this game, we really showed that we can fight through anything,” Sidley said.