Playing for the MSJ Girls Volleyball Program means you are a part of something much bigger than yourself. We have a strong team culture that has been built over many years by developing character, hard work, passion, and perseverance. It is not easy being a participant in our program because great experiences do not come easily. You have the support of your teammates, coaching staff, parents, and alumni who have been in your shoes both as a player and MSJ student athlete. Be encouraged and inspired, and learn from the accomplished MSJ Girls Volleyball alumni community!
Playing for the MSJ Girls’ Volleyball program has strengthened my work ethic, taught me mental discipline, and allowed me to embrace the somewhat uncomfortable process of change and growth. I’ve learned that in such a random game, there is only so much within my control. I can't control what the opponent does, where they place the ball, or how my teammates play. Therefore, winning and success for me comes from staying disciplined enough to make the best play on the easy balls and doing the best I can on the tougher ones. These lessons have significantly influenced my outlook on life; Especially throughout my first year in college, I constantly reflected on how grateful I am to Coach Donny, my teammates and the program for helping me develop mental and emotional resilience in the face of greater adversities.
“Know your worth.” While MSJ is a school brimming with intelligent and driven individuals, it seems that, at times, our talent is muted by an overwhelmingly individualistic and competitive mindset towards success. All throughout my first year in college, I couldn’t figure out why I felt like nothing I did mattered. On paper, I thought I was doing all the right things—16 units of classes, club volleyball, a job, a dance team. I did these things with the intent of bettering myself, yet still felt inadequate and worthless to people and spaces around me. I was so focused on my own progress that I lost sight of my purpose and passion of being able to add value to other’s lives.
Embrace your worth. Know that your actions, big or small, positive, negative or neutral, have the potential to make an impact. Lastly, from the bottom of my heart, remember that your worth is NOT defined by your GPA, your test scores, or even what college you end up at. Focus on the how and why you do what you do and try to love yourself—through the good, the bad, the ugly—each step along the way.
Mission San Jose Volleyball team is not just a sports program, but a way of life. It taught me to appreciate the value of the little details. The discipline that the program instilled in me has stayed with me throughout all my experiences. The emphasis on pushing past your personal limits teaches your maximum capabilities are limitless. This volleyball team exemplifies what it means to not only be a team leader but also how to excel as one unit. Mission San Jose volleyball team is more than just a definite way to improve your volleyball skills, but also a way to foster personal growth!
Opposite Hitter, Class of 2018
Outside Hitter/MIDDLE BLOCKER, Class of 2019
Looking back, I almost can’t believe how much the MSJ Girls’ Volleyball program has changed me. When I first walked into the gym four years ago, I was a timid freshman who wasn’t even sure that I wanted to play volleyball. The community and culture that Coach Donny has built up over the years became a safe place and a second family for me, one that celebrated all my successes and accepted all my flaws just the same. Having the privilege of being a part of something so much bigger than myself has changed me for the better in more ways that I can even describe.
Grit. This team taught me not just what it meant to work hard, but what it takes to win games and championships. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard.” This was one of my favorite quotes that Coach Donny would bring up during practice time to time. Being part of a mostly Asian team, none of us were particularly tall or super “athletic.” Compared to the larger teams in our district, we were often looked down upon for being so much smaller. Despite the odds against us, we worked hard and got W’s. These wins were built from countless practices filled with blood, sweat, and tears—what we lacked in natural talent, we made up in discipline and technique. I definitely was not ready for the amount of times that I was broken down and built back up again, but I’ve also never been more grateful for an experience because it made me stronger both physically and mentally.
Sacrifice. Choosing volleyball and prioritizing my commitments for the team was one of the hardest things I’ve had to do. While my friends hung out after school, getting food or going to the mall, I had to hurry to the gym to set up the nets and get dressed in time for practice. During club season, I missed countless birthday parties, movie-nights, and boba runs—I was usually out of the state competing for a chance to attend Junior Olympics. All these sacrifices were definitely worth it.
Time management. Being a student athlete, especially one at MSJ, is hard. I’m so glad I stuck with volleyball, though, because I learned to manage my time wisely and sleep early to have the energy I needed for practice the next day. To anyone who’s worried about playing volleyball because they aren’t sure if they can play a sport and do well in school at the same time, my advice is to just believe in yourself and push through. Don’t let the fear of failure prevent you from doing something you love—my motto in life is to do everything that I would regret not doing and I would tell anyone to do the same!
Lastly, leadership. I really found my voice through the four years I spent in this program. I became a more confident player, teammate, and overall individual. On the court, I was fearless and no longer afraid of making mistakes. Off the court, I stepped up in leadership positions, because I had that experience of leading a team. Being in college now, there are so many instances when I recall little lessons that I learned from Coach Donny and just smile. I now know how privileged I am to be able to say I’m an alumni that wore an MSJ jersey. Even if I’m at Johns Hopkins now, a part of me is always going to be an MSJ Warrior and I have my teammates and the amazing volleyball community to thank for that :)
I graduated from MSJ in 2017 and played on the Women’s Varsity Volleyball team for four years under Coach Donny. I am currently studying computer science at UCSB and plan to graduate in 2021. I played on the UCSB Women’s Club Volleyball Team in my freshman year and now continue to play Intramurals.
MSJ VB brings back many fond memories. From beating Moreau Catholic High 3 to 2 in 2014 –winning our last set 19 to 17 and hearing the spectators stomp so loud on the bleachers that I feared the gym would collapse – to losing a tough match to James Logan High in second round NCS during my final season, I shared both laughs and tears with my volleyball sisters. By playing on the MSJ volleyball team, I formed friendships like no other with girls also enduring the same grueling but rewarding experience of being a student-athlete at MSJ.
As the main setter for 2013-2017 Varsity Volleyball, I learned to perform under pressure and communicate more clearly with others. I learned to read the court and be aware of everyone around me. I learned the importance of discipline and necessity of teamwork and communication to succeed. The skills I learned and developed at MSJ Volleyball not only allowed me to improve as a player, but also a person. I grew from a shy, quiet introvert to a much more social, but still reserved adult.
Take advantage of this volleyball program. Putting things into perspective, Coach Donny has players travel from all over the world just to attend one of his summer camps. If you are an MSJ student, you are so lucky to have the opportunity to personally learn under such an amazing coach. Work hard in both sports and academics and wherever you end up, you will find amazing people to guide you through school, your career and beyond. Good luck!
Middle Blocker, Class of 2017
Defensive Specialist, Class of 2017
Libero, Class of 2017
Middle Blocker, Class of 2017
I graduated MSJHS in 2015. I currently attend UCSC and will be graduating in 2019. I played on varsity for four years at MSJHS, and had Coach Donny as my coach for all four years. Playing at MSJHS was fun and challenging, because of the constant competition in sports and in academics. Although the school can be very competitive in many aspect, volleyball was one thing that let me escape a lot of stresses surrounding school. Playing for the varsity team created a passion for volleyball I didn’t think was possible. Coach Donny always strived to make his players the best they could be, on and off the court. My favorite thing about the program was that although we were focused on playing volleyball and improving our skills, Coach Donny and the program made sure to instill lessons that applied to my everyday life.
Currently, I do not play for any institution, but I have coached for two years of my college career, for Endline 16-1’s, located in Fremont, CA. Although I do not play, I hope to continue coaching and passing on my knowledge to new learners of the game! Play on!
Being a student athlete at MSJ was difficult at times, but it instilled a lot of skills that I utilize to this day. It pushed me to be disciplined, responsible with my time, and a leader/role model for my teammates. Playing volleyball all four years provided unforgettable memories and friendships that I’ll cherish for the rest of my life. Because of my experience at MSJ, I still continue to play and will be starting my final season this year at Santa Clara University. I will be forever grateful for everything my MSJ team and coaches had given me, and I hope future and current players will have the same positive experience I did. Go Warriors!
Gratification is an experience that few people obtain, and I am proud to say the MSJVB program has given me true gratification. From the lessons that I've learned to the friendships that have been built, I cannot explain how grateful I am for this program. I played for MSJ for four years, three of them being on varsity. Through those four seasons of some of the hardest things I've ever experienced, I was able to strengthen myself physically and mentally, constantly being broken down just to be built up even stronger. Practice and just being in the gym with my teammates became my sanctuary when things were not great in school, and situations were terrible at home. Because of this, I can truly say this program has kept me alive through high school, and I don't think I'll ever find anything like this again. I would tell younger players to try to appreciate everything that they are learning and experiencing. Though the expectations are high and the tasks can be difficult, the lessons that you learn through this program will resonate with you for the rest of your life, so just enjoy the time you have in this environment. This program has changed who I am as a person and as an athlete, and I hope that many more will reap the benefits of MSJ volleyball.
Outside Hitter, Class of 2018
I graduated from MSJ in 2017 and played volleyball there for 4 years, I now go to Earlham College and play for the team there. Playing for MSJ's program was one of the most rewarding things I did through my high school career. Every year the coaching staff picked words that went on the back of our shirts. The two words that have stuck with me to this day are discipline and process. We focused on these words because we were never the tallest, strongest or most athletic team but we were always the most disciplined team. We won games, but the process of getting there was strenuous- our limits were pushed but because of that we got better. Not only do I live by these two words on the court, but also in my daily life. This program pushed me to be my best and I am forever grateful to the coaches and my teammates. All the memories and lifetime bonds I have made because of MSJ Volleyball.
I played volleyball at MSJ all four years, and played club in the off season. My favorite part of being a student-athlete was the community - I loved competing with and against my friends in the school and club leagues! MSJ volleyball is particularly special because of the high standard you’re held to. I felt encouraged to grow as an athlete and as a person, which was really formative for me. My advice for future members is to challenge your body, but listen to it, too. Fuel it well and take nutrition, recovery, and rehabilitation just as seriously as playing. And most of all, commit to the time you have. Leave everything else at the door, work hard, and have fun!
MSJ VB was a huge part of my high school life. I’ve learned so many new skill sets that helped me both on and off the court. I am glad to have experienced the blood, sweat, and tears during my four years because it helped my mental strength grow tougher. Balancing school work with the many hours in the gym led to many late nights trying to finish studying and homework. These late nights, however, taught me the importance of time management and mental strength, skills that helped me survive tough school days and beat competitive opponents. I learned that it was okay to mess up in both school and on the court, as long as I learn from my mistakes and fix them.
One particular memory that stands out during my time in MSJ VB was my senior year when we won first place at the East County Invitational Tournament. I was most proud of everyone fighting and using their mental strength to defeat the opponents. We were not a tall team, but our ability to work as a unit and communicate with each other was what led to our victory. My four years of hard work finally paid off.
I had become extremely close friends with my teammates and found a loving community. Certain skills, such as teamwork, mental strength, and time management, can only be learned by playing a team sport such as volleyball, and MSJ VB is a great place to learn them. I am no longer painfully shy; I am now assertive and willing to hold leadership positions and responsibilities to lead my team to success, both on the court and in life.
The MSJ Girls Volleyball program is incredibly unique, and it provides an amazing foundation for not only great physicality, but also work ethic, teamwork, and social skills. During season, I have honed my efficiency to handle intense practices as well as stay on top of schoolwork. I highly encourage all interested to try out! It was an unforgettable experience that helped me build so many meaningful relationships and distinct memories.
Opposite Hitter, Class of 2015
Outside Hitter, Class of 2015
Setter, Class of 2017
Middle Blocker, Class of 2010