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Wilson wins volleyball title
(Published December 1, 2003)

Special to The Common Denominator

The powerhouse Wilson Tigers defeated the Banneker Bulldogs in three consecutive games to capture the 2003 DCIAA Volleyball Title.

In the best of five series played Nov. 17 at Anacostia Senior High, Wilson won by scores of 25-12, 25-11 and 25-14.

"Our serving was very good versus Banneker," said Wilson Coach Perette Arrington. "We also nailed the passes. We had the quicker offense. Banneker hit a lot of free balls and we were able to set up the returns."

The Tigers finished the current campaign with an impressive 18-1 overall record, including a perfect 14-0 in D.C. Interscholastic Athletic Association competition, including post-season play. After losing to National Cathedral in a non-DCIAA match Oct. 8, the Tigers finished the season winning 12 consecutive matches.

Banneker, coached by Athletic Director Anita Berger, finished the current campaign with an overall record of 10-4, all against DCIAA competition.

"We were very focused and we worked well as a team versus Woodson. We hit the ball well and we passed the ball well versus Dunbar," Coach Berger noted about her team’s performance in the playoffs.

Wilson starters in the championship match included seniors Janet Bunning (middle hitter) and Emily Jacobson (setter); juniors Amarachi Umez-Eronini (middle hitter), Elsa Mendez (outside hitter) and India James (opposite); and sophomore Holly VanDoorninck (outside hitter).

Bunning and Jacobson, the Tigers’ team captains, have been starters for three years.

"Janet is an excellent player. She loves volleyball. She’s very coachable. Her skills have progressed dramatically over the past three seasons. She works very hard," Coach Arrington said. "Emily is the best setter we’ve had here during my tenure. Her serves are very, very good. She works hard and is very committed to the game of volleyball.

"Both of these captains are leaders of the team on the court and they are friends off the court," the coach said .

Banneker starters in the championship match included seniors Itunu Alao (spiker) and Lauren Reid (opposite); juniors Mafope Alao (setter) and Malika Davis (opposite); sophomore Gernethia Rich (middle blocker) and freshman Iheoma Umez-Eronini (opposite). Mafope Alao and Davis are the Bulldogs’ team captains.

The championship divided the loyalties of at least one of the families in attendance, with junior Amarachi Umez-Eronini battling for Wilson and freshman Iheoma Umez-Eronini battling for Banneker. The elder Umez-Eronini played a major role in the Tigers’ victory.

Wilson led from wire to wire in game one and in game three. In game two, Banneker tied the score 4-4, but Wilson bolted to leads of 10-4, 11-7 and 18-11 before reeling off seven consecutive points to prevail 25-11.

"The key to us getting this far [to the championship match] was that the girls had their confidence level pretty high. That was the key to the season this year," said Banneker Coach Berger.

Banneker standout Davis noted Wilson had more depth of experience on its squad.

"They also seemed to have more energy," she said. "All things considered, it was a great season. We had many new girls playing this year for the first time. It was a satisfying season."

Wilson Coach Arrington said the progress in her team throughout the season was gratifying.

"As the season went on, we got stronger and stronger as a team," she said. "Our court awareness became better and better as the season progressed. The girls meshed well this season and they all worked very hard."

In the consolation match, Dunbar defeated Anacostia two games to one: 20-25, 25-22 and 25-14.

Copyright 2003, The Common Denominator