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Sports Spotlight: Courtney Chaloff and Helen Yuan

By Denebola
Published: November 2007
By Elizabeth Crowley
Seniors Courtney Chaloff and Helen Yuan are leading this year’s girls’ varsity volleyball team to the state competition for the first time in several years. Coming out of a transition between coaches, this is the first year Todd Elwell has coached the senior players for their entire four years of volleyball. Elwell adds a degree of consistency to technique and past teachings for everyone on the team.
With a regular season record of 11-9, Chaloff and Yuan, both playing the position of outside hitter, are confident in their team’s considerable abilities. Leading a younger team, with an unusual amount of talent from the sophomores, a few of whom are setting and starting for the varsity team, has required a serious amount of dedication and commitment on the part of the captains.
The captains assume their roles of leadership with ease. “It is great being captain. We take our jobs seriously. We like to have fun, but when it comes to games and practices, we make sure everyone is one hundred percent focused,” Chaloff said. “As a captain and a senior in general, you are looked at to raise the bar for practice and set the intensity level.”
Chaloff and Yuan both stress how “everyone really wants it” and that “our work ethic is really strong.” Yuan explained that “this year is different because Courtney and I are the ones in charge, and we’ve worked hard in the off season, and I believe all this hard work has paid off right now.”
Chaloff and Yuan are reaping the rewards of their hard work, not only by getting a chance to compete in the state competition with their team but being recognized for their leadership by younger players. “It’s cool to be looked up to by freshmen and be appreciated like that,” Chaloff said.
Just as the younger players respect their captains, Chaloff and Yuan see great potential in the underclassmen and consider them good enough to overcome challenges next season born from losing this year’s seniors.
“They [the younger players] will be a little vertically challenged. They are losing some height,” Chaloff said, but both captains are fully confident that their team’s hard work will make up for any height difference they encounter.
“I think volleyball will continue to be a great program in the future,” Chaloff said.
After over four years of experience, Chaloff and Yuan are looking forward the rest of their volleyball careers.

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