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The Paw Print

The Paw Print

Athlete of the Issue: Irina Alsoufiev

Carolyn Wu

Senior team captain Irina Alsoufiev takes a deep breath, feeling the stippled leather of the volleyball as she holds it in her hands. Calm and collected, she throws the ball into the air. She takes a calculated approach from the baseline, then leaps into the air, hitting the ball with staggering force and sending a white blur barreling over the net.

In her final season of girls volleyball, Alsoufiev served the team well, leaving a distinguished mark through her leadership, skill, and dedication.

Recognized for her consistent digs and lethal serves, Alsoufiev has transcended the confines of the court with her passionate leadership during her time on the Poly girls varsity volleyball team. Head girls volleyball coach Katrina Damasco-Dicipulo had the privilege of witnessing Alsoufiev’s tremendous growth over four years on the varsity team, seeing her evolve from a promising talent into a true volleyball powerhouse.

“She led the defense,” said Damasco-Dicipulo. “Whether it was as a defensive specialist or libero, whenever she was in the back. She made a huge difference behind the service line.”

Alsoufiev’s defensive prowess was a driving force behind the team’s success with a remarkable team-high of 217 digs. Teammate junior Olivia Ip said, “Besides her help on the defensive line, she’s also really positive. You can tell there’s a difference when she is on the court. When we are down, she’s the one that always brings us back up.”

Alsoufiev received the Katrina Kuehn Award at her final Poly volleyball banquet for standing out as an athlete and a role model within the league.

Her volleyball teammates believe that Alsoufiev is the glue that holds the players together. With her compassion and caring spirit, her contributions to the team are undeniable. “She always makes an effort to get to know everyone and hype us up. She plays such a crucial role on and off the court that really brings our team together,” commented junior Katie Sam.

Alsoufiev is not just a star athlete; she is the embodiment of commitment, work ethic and passion in Poly athletics. Her unwavering dedication to the sport is evident in the countless hours she invests, playing both on Poly’s team and on SG Elite’s club team outside of school. Additionally, Alsoufiev is a member of Poly’s Student Athlete Leadership Council, spearheading the spirit committee at games.

As Alsoufiev’s senior year on the varsity team draws to a close, there is a wave of bittersweet emotion among her teammates and supporters as they will undoubtedly miss her presence. Alsoufiev’s legacy, however, will continue to resonate within the realm of Poly volleyball and athletics.

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