Senior Sports Spotlight: Girls’ Volleyball

Christine Nguyen and Zachary Meditz

   The squeaking of shoes and the forceful impact of the players’ palms driving the volleyballs over the net sets the scene for a typical team practice. Over the years, the seniors in volleyball found a home in this setting including Somkene “Soso” Akubuilo, Jayden Zabala, and Taliyah “T” Akinnibosun. As the season winds down, they each shared key moments from their personal experiences.


“It was a 50/50 ball and Akubuilo jumped up to try and block the ball or try to tip it back into the other side of the net.” Picture Courtesy of Ryan Del Rosario.

Name: “Soso” Akubuilo

Position: Middle-blocker /  Varsity Captain

Number: 7

Duration on Varsity: 2 years

Q: How have you grown as a person through volleyball?

A: I’ve grown more as a team player, not thinking as much about what I’m doing but what we could do as a team.

Q: What will you miss about volleyball when you graduate?

A: The feeling when you get a kill or a block and that satisfaction of doing good on the court with your teammates.


“All of the seniors on the Girls Volleyball team were just honored by the audience and awarded by their team with Senior Volleyball plaques at the Volleyball Senior Night. Ashley Varatip, Jayden Zabala, Soso Akubuilo, Taliyah Akinnibosun, Mia Hasenmayer, Angel Hert, and Jaclyn Lacroix took a group picture with their coach, Beverly Hazell, before playing one of the last volleyball games of their high school career.” Picture Courtesy of Ryan Del Rosario.

Name: Taliyah (T) Akinnibosun

Position: Varsity Outside Hitter 

Number: 21

Duration on Varsity: 1 year

Q: How have you grown as a person through volleyball?

A: Through volleyball, I was able to communicate with people better, get to know people better, and overall grow as a person. 

Q: What was your favorite team memory this past season?

A: This past season, my favorite team memory would be beating Torrance High because that was really big for us. It was the first time since our coach has taken over that the varsity team has beat them.


“Zabala attempts to give the outside hitter, Shannon Shaw (11), a good set for her to finish the play and score.” Picture Courtesy of Ryan Del Rosario.

Name: Jayden Zabala

Position: Setter / Varsity Captain 

Number:  9

Duration on Varsity: 2 years 

Q: How have you grown as a person through volleyball?

A: Volleyball has taught me to persevere through hard times, be mentally strong, and know that if I do make a mistake the next one can be better and it’s up to me to make that call.

Q: What advice or message would you like to give to the incoming volleyball team next year?

A: I would tell them to have fun because when you’re playing like you’re having fun you really do your best and that’s all that a coach, the audience, your parents, or the rest of the school could ask for.

   As Akubuilo, Zabala, and Akinnibosun go on to pursue their own paths in the future, they’ll look back on the invaluable lessons that volleyball has taught them, reminisce about the meaningful memories they created, and cherish the exhilarating feeling of being on the court with a team that always will remain close in their hearts.