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Four Years of Varsity Volleyball: Co-captain Shoshana Herzog Finishes Final Season at Tam

IN+THE+ZONE%3A+Herzog+prepares+to+receive+a+serve+during+an+away+game.+This+year+marks+her+final+season+playing+for+Tam.+Photo+courtesy+of%3A+Shoshana+Herzog
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Four Years of Varsity Volleyball: Co-captain Shoshana Herzog Finishes Final Season at Tam

IN THE ZONE: Herzog prepares to receive a serve during an away game. This year marks her final season playing for Tam. Photo courtesy of: Shoshana Herzog

IN THE ZONE: Herzog prepares to receive a serve during an away game. This year marks her final season playing for Tam. Photo courtesy of: Shoshana Herzog

IN THE ZONE: Herzog prepares to receive a serve during an away game. This year marks her final season playing for Tam. Photo courtesy of: Shoshana Herzog

IN THE ZONE: Herzog prepares to receive a serve during an away game. This year marks her final season playing for Tam. Photo courtesy of: Shoshana Herzog

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IN THE ZONE: Herzog prepares to receive a serve during an away game. This year marks her final season playing for Tam. Photo courtesy of: Shoshana Herzog

For most high school students who dominate competitive athletics, their success results from early years of practice and private coaching encouraged by parents. This was not the case for senior Shoshana Herzog.

Herzog started her athletic career on the Mill Valley Middle School girls’ volleyball team, joining Absolute Volleyball Club and playing off-season in eighth grade.

“That was when I got really good and really into it. I became more involved with a whole [different] level. I went into it not knowing what I was doing at all,” she said. By the time she reached high school, she was starting as the outside hitter on Tam’s varsity team, where she has played for four years and co-captained for two.

The transition from recreational to competitive athletics wasn’t always easy for Herzog. “I got put on the [highest ranked] team because I was tall,” she said. “I was the worst player on the team all year, but then I realized by the end of the year that I had improved so much.”

Herzog has played volleyball year-round since she was a freshman, playing for Tam from the summer through the fall. She starts the club season shortly after and plays into the summer.

“It’s a huge part of my life. It was every day of the week for the last four years,” she said.

Despite her love of the game, competitive volleyball has taken a toll on Herzog. “School volleyball goes five days a week, but club goes about three days a week for two and a half hours at a time,” said Herzog. “It involves a lot more conditioning, a lot more commitment, and… you go to tournaments, where you spend anywhere from one to four days playing volleyball every day, all day. It was one of those things where [I asked myself], ‘Why am I doing this?’ but [I] still love it.”

This winter club season marks the first time Herzog has not played volleyball in her high school career. “I decided to take a year off so I can do other things like track and field, have free time, have a life,” Herzog said with a laugh.

Herzog has also had to decide volleyball’s role in her future. The University of California, Santa Cruz guaranteed her a spot on the school’s varsity volleyball team if she attended next fall. Herzog considered the offer, but turned it down.

“As fun as it is… [playing] at a very high level [is] more about winning than having fun,” Herzog said. She plans to play club or intramural volleyball in college instead of varsity, but still believes her experiences as part of a competitive high school volleyball team have been valuable.

“Shoshana is one of the hardest working athletes on our team,” said volleyball coach Casey Mondragon. “When Shoshana is in the gym, she is consistently focused on her and the team’s improvement.”

Herzog reflected on her leadership role as co-captain of the Tam varsity team. “You get a lot of respect from everybody,” she said. “You’re the person that when everyone’s getting held down, when they’re not making a lot of points, you can [be the one who] makes them work hard [to] get better and try their best.”

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Four Years of Varsity Volleyball: Co-captain Shoshana Herzog Finishes Final Season at Tam