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The burden of being a Cardozo captain

Cardozo's Ashley Grubler discusses the perils of being captain and the Francis Lewis tournament. Photo by Denis Gostev
TimesLedger Newspapers

Cardozo star Ashley Grubler, one of the top girls’ volleyball players in the city, takes us behind the scenes into her world as the Judges attempt to win back-to-back PSAL Class A championships. Grubler will give us the blow by blow through scrimmages, tournaments, rivalry matches and recruiting.

Being a captain isn’t all what it’s cracked up to be. Do I love being captain? Yes, of course, but it has some obstacles.

In volleyball, I am my own worst enemy. I criticize myself more than anyone else criticizes me. Truthfully, I have high expectations of myself. I know that every game I can play 10 times better and for me it’s hard not to get down about that. That is why it’s harder for me to motivate my team when I’m always down about the way I play.

It’s a tough learning experience. I had to learn to always keep my head up and make sure everyone else’s head is up. I am not the greatest at keeping my head up, but I try hard to let it not affect me. All I can say about that is pressure. But I deal with pressure well so I think I’m going to be OK. As a team, also, that is our worst trait. When we get down, needless to say, it’s game over.

In all of my four years, the Francis Lewis tournament was probably the most competitive tournament I have ever been to in the PSAL. My goal for that tournament was to make it out of pool play and anything else after that I would’ve been satisfied with.

My goal was completed. In overall pool play we went 3-3, losing to Pelham, splitting with St. Francis Prep — splitting with them was one of my goals as well — and taking two from Grover Cleveland. Right then and there I thought we weren’t going to make it out of pool play until I realized that St. Francis Prep also was 3-3.

All we needed to do was beat them in a one-set tiebreaker to 25 to advance into the playoffs. It sounds easy when I word it like that but I won’t lie to you: I thought we weren’t going to do it. This is the St. Francis Prep that has won numerous championships.

Obviously no one could’ve guessed what happened next. But the impossible was made possible that day. In a one-set thriller we beat St. Francis Prep 26-24 and advanced into the semifinals where we would meet Panas.

Panas, unfortunately, ended our run there, but it was a good match. That match felt like I was playing at club because it was a team that I have never faced before where I didn’t know what to expect. But as a team, even though we didn’t know what to expect, we definitely gave it our best and played well against them. I was very proud of what we had accomplished that day. I finally realized that nothing is impossible.

If we lift our heads and give our all we can do anything. The sky is the limit for Cardozo and we are not stopping until our very last goal is completed. We have come down to the final stretch. It’s almost playoff time.

Let’s do this, ladies!

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