Junior Jada Roberge

Junior Jada Roberge attempts a spike for Glendale Prep volleyball.

The 2019 season will be a true test of what the Glendale Prep girls’ volleyball team is made of. Just a few games into its season, the team has faced tremendous adversity.

The Griffins, who finished 24-9 in a season that saw them finish as 2A state runners-up, started 2019 with a roster that coach Jennifer Roberge called a “rebuilding year.”

Glendale Prep graduated three of its top players in 2019, who were part of making the program one of the best in the area over the past few seasons, and came into this year with just one senior on an already-small varsity roster. Senior Caitlin Kao suffered a season-ending injury at the beginning of the season, and sophomore starter Sita Bhakta hurt her knee jumping for a spike in a 3-0 home loss to Chandler Prep on September 12.

“We normally have seven to nine girls up on varsity, so it really is a blow when even one of them gets hurt. We’re going to have to battle even more now,” Roberge said.

The Griffins, though, have been a successful team historically, boasting winning records and competing for — even winning several — championships each season. There is no reason to think, even with the current roster of young players, that the Griffins are going to back down. There were tears shed after the September 12 loss to Chandler Prep, one of the conference’s top teams, for the uncharacteristic straight-sets loss, but mostly for the injured players the team cares so much about.

Winning at a high level is never easy, especially when a team goes through heartache and now will have to revise its strategy under a new roster. But, there are a lot of games remaining, and Roberge said she knows just how hard her players and staff are going to fight for the remainder of 2019.

“The girls are going to have to gather around and play for each other now. I know for a fact that they aren’t going to give up on this season,” Roberge said.

“I know just how much heart my team has. You could see it right away in their attitude in practice. This is hard, but I am really confident they’re going to come together and still put forward the best season we can have.”