Maggie Zhang, Reporter/Photographer

In a game of volleyball, the ball seemed to never drop as the players from each team tried their hardest to score a point. In an intense game, you saw someone who sets and not a second later someone there, hitting the ball, scoring a point. In a game, Mason Fiene (9), member of the varsity volleyball team and part of Southport volleyball club, faced his opponents on the other side of the net. As the setter, it was his job to set the ball to his teammate to score points. The start of Fiene’s volleyball career came from his childhood. Before volleyball, he played basketball, but started playing volleyball when he was eight. He did not start of as a setter but as a libero, someone who was on and off the court compared to the setter who stayed in all game.

“My sister has played since she was like seven,” Fiene said. “I was watching her and one day I was like, I really like that sport. So I tried it out and I have loved it since. I enjoyed going and being in the game and having fun with serving and setting. I was a libero at first and then I turned into a setter. I wish I was the setter sooner. But libero was fun, just passing the ball and getting it up to the center. But I wish I started setting sooner so I could be better at it sooner.”

As the setter, one of the main contributors to the team’s offense, the pressure of performing to meet that expectation could cause a nerve-racking feeling. The idea of fear or messing up looms over him.

“I run to the ball and then I put my hands out when I’m there. And then I just think about how they want the ball. I have to listen to what they call and then I do the set. But if it’s too high or tlost the point for the team,” Fiene said. “Just getting pressure on me, if it’s not a good set and I just need to fix sets.”

But Fiene was not alone, his teammates stood by his side, cheering each other up, helping each other out.

“I get excited with my team. We pump each other up, give high fives and keep our heads up.” Fiene said. “It feels good because I like teamwork, and teamwork makes the dream work, so I just feel good because they hit the ball and got the point. That just makes me feel excited.”

Even if one of his teammate’s spikes gets blocked, Fiene was there to encourage them for their next set or next point, getting them back into the game.

“I just say heads up you’ll get the next one and I just maybe do a different call,” he said. “But if I do a different set they would be there and I just do them again when their heads are up and they’re back in the game. I just wait until we get another point and then my head just goes up I just shake my hands to get all the nerves out and then I just go. with excitement.”

Volleyball was not only about the game, but the character it built. It involved communication and teamwork with the others around you.

“[It] shows me how to be a better person and how to be a better teammate to everyone and be kind,” Fiene said. “I think the sport gets me a little faster than other sports that I used to play (baseball) but I got faster playing volleyball and it just gets me stronger and gets me out of my house.”

The feeling on the court and off the court was different for Fiene. On court he felt confident compared to what he felt in school.

“I feel happy and it just feels comfortable when I’m on the court rather than school,” Fiene said.

Fiene planned on becoming a professional athlete, playing volleyball professionally. He was not alone as his family was there with him, helping him in whatever way they could.

“What pushes me is probably my family because now they’re making me work out more so I’ll get stronger and stuff and they’ll push me to be a better athlete/volleyball player,” Fiene said.

Even with the pressure from the other side of the court, Fiene did not get nervous or scared. When playing a match, Fiene did not have time to be nervous.

“Before I set, I just shake my hands to get all the nerves out and then I just go,” Fiene said.