Page One

Injury could mean end of JV season for Yellowjackets

By Jared Green Daily Planet Staff
Wednesday April 17, 2002

Just when things were starting to look up for the Berkeley High boys’ volleyball team, a freak injury may have thrown their season into chaos. 

Early in the opening game of Tuesday’s match against Alameda, Berkeley’s Ethan Ashley landed on a teammate’s foot and rolled his ankle. With just seven active players on the team, the ’Jackets were left with no substitutes and couldn’t give much resistance to the Hornets, falling 15-7, 15-12, 15-3. 

How serious Ashley’s injury turns out to be will likely decide the fate of the school’s first-year junior varsity program. If Ashley is out for any considerable amount of time, Berkeley head coach Justin Caraway is likely to forfeit the remaining JV games and pull all six players up to varsity. 

“There’s no way we can compete with only the six guys I’ve got left,” Caraway said. “We’re in serious trouble if Ethan’s gone for the rest of the year.” 

The ’Jackets admittedly won’t be going very far this year no matter what condition Ashley’s ankle is in. They have lost four straight matches and are just 1-4 in ACCAL play, with a group of unexperienced underclassmen unlikely to turn the season around. The abandonment of the JV schedule would be doubly painful for Caraway, who has worked hard for the past two seasons to establish the training ground for his younger players. 

Caraway admitted that pulling up the junior varsity would be a move born of desperation. 

“I don’t think our JV players are ready to compete at this level,” he said. “But I may not have a choice.” 

Although the ’Jackets didn’t win Tuesday, at least they weren’t fighting amongst themselves in the loss. The team ended last week with internal strife marring the picture, as star Robin Roach lost his temper after watching his teammates struggle to make plays for the past two seasons. Roach was smiling again Tuesday, patting his teammates on the back even when a mistake was made. 

“We were looking pretty good. We had a good practice yesterday, and we had high energy and were communicating on the court, Caraway said. “But this injury puts us in a tough position. I’m going to have to make a decision by tomorrow’s practice whether we’re going to have a JV for the rest of the year.”