Maggie Miller

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Maggie+Miller

Legacy Back On Track

“Why not us?” The question our new volleyball coach, Coach C, posed to us before we stepped onto the bus to head to our rival school for the area tournament. That game would determine if our team, laden with eighth-graders and freshmen, would make it to regionals. Making it to regionals would help rebuild the legacy of what it means to be a Donoho volleyball player. Donoho has always had a history of great volleyball teams, and no one wants to be on the team that ends the winning streak. It turns out that I would be on that team; my team did not make it to the regional tournament for the first time in thirty-three years. That year my team had seven wins and fifteen losses. After that season, I wanted to turn it around, and with that, I realized it would take hard work. From then on, I played year-round with different volleyball clubs and leagues, and volleyball took over my life. At home I would go outside to practice serving or setting against the wall; then, darkness would set in before I knew it. From the, “Why not us?” question, no one could have guessed that our young, small team would go on to win state the next year. 

I started playing volleyball in the sixth grade when I tried out for my first club team. I quickly fell in love with the sport, and it slowly started taking up all my time. One day when I was practicing outside of my home, I managed to hit not one, but two light fixtures on each side of the garage door. They both shattered, and they have been like that ever since. Yet, I found that the more work you put in, the better you will become. 

In the spring of sixth grade, I tried out for my first school team: junior high at White Plains Middle. It turns out I made the team—fun fact: I’ve never told anyone at Donoho about that.  A few weeks later, I found out that I would be moving schools in the fall, so I attended the tryout of my new school’s team. I remember not wanting to go in, but I knew one girl from club volleyball, Kaitlyn Kim. Kaitlyn welcomed me and introduced me to everyone. I was the only girl in my grade that tried out. Little did I know, I would be the only girl in my grade to play volleyball from seventh to twelfth grade. 

Seventh and eighth grade flew by, and suddenly I was starting on varsity as a ninth grader. The previous varsity coach had retired without regard to building any of the players behind the senior class that left with her. Our new coach had never coached varsity before, but she was doing her best. That season we won seven games and lost fifteen. 

Tenth grade — my second year on varsity. We had a new coach – Coach C. Coach C helped our team to believe in ourselves again. Our team grew to become something great through intense practices and summer workouts, and many team bonding nights. In my tenth grade season, we won thirty-one games and made it to regionals. 

Eleventh grade — with the help of Coach C. and the hard work everyone put in throughout the summer, as well as an eight-hour bus ride to and from Florida Camp, our team won the area tournament, made it to regionals, then on to win the state tournament.  

My senior season rolled around, but 2020 brought a new spice: Covid-19. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that I was able to keep playing the sport I love; we put the work in once more, but unfortunately came up short as state-runner ups. 

Through volleyball, I have learned to be independent. I was forced to branch out and make new friends that were not just in my grade. I learned to be a leader. I had to step out of my comfort zone and speak up, especially being a setter having to yell all the time — and I am not a loud person. Through volleyball, I learned never to give up. In the state championship game, when my team was down 19-24, we did not freak out or play it safe. We continued to play like we knew how. In the end, it all paid off. We went home with the state championship trophy — the blue map. 

Volleyball has also brought people together. I have become best friends with people I most likely would have never spoken to in the hallways. It also brought  the community together for our games. When we made it to state, the entire school showed up. Having that support, and a student section that was much bigger than our opponents, really helped us pull out the win in the semi-finals to get us to the championship. In the end, through playing volleyball, I learned that it is much more than just a sport. Although it is passing, setting, and hitting, volleyball has turned into what motivates me to work harder,  brought me my very best friends, and the best memories of my high school years.

Please click on the arrow below to hear Maggie’s Senior Reading.