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October 30, 2002

Despite barriers, Lady Jackets understand

From: Myrtle Beach Sun News, SC
Oct. 30, 2002

By Keith Pompey
The Sun News
ANDREWSCome 6 p.m. today, the Hanahan High School volleyball team will have a noteworthy experience when it visits Andrews.

The Hawkettes will play a Class AA second-round match against a Lady Yellow Jackets squad that features two foreign exchange students and two others who are hearing impaired.

Setter Yuka Momozaki is from Japan and speaks very little English. Outside hitter Henriette Loevstad , who's from Norway, speaks English fluently.

Outside hitter Janna White is deaf, while Amy McCants - another outside hitter - can hear with the use of a hearing aid.

"I thought it was going to be hard to communicate," says outside hitter/setter Kim Montgomery. "I thought we wouldn't be able to understand each other. But we are getting the hang of it."

Judging by the team's success, Andrews is doing much more than that.

The Lady Yellow Jackets
head into the Hanahan match with a 13-1 record.

Andrews earned a No. 1 seed in the playoffs by going 10-0 in Region VII-AA play.

This season "has been fun," says assistant coach Brooke Berry. "And it has been interesting.

"I think it has been fun because the exchange students, I know they've learned a lot; probably some things that they shouldn't have learned. But we've learned about them, too."

As a result, the teammates realize that they have more similarities than differences.

"I've learned that people are the same wherever they are," says Loevstad. "It's just the difference in the cultures and how people act because they are in different parts of the world. But I think they are basically the same."

Anyone who's seen the Lady Yellow Jackets play in unison during matches would agree. Despite being unable to hear, White's passing percentage (86 percent) ranks sixth on the team.

It's hard to tell that Montgomery and Momozaki met a couple of months ago. The two have danced together between games.

"I'm trying to teach her how to do the Harlem Shake," says Montgomery.

In the process, Andrews is teaching people that teamwork will overcome any language barrier.

"This is a neat thing to watch," said coach Brian Brennen. "They get along pretty good."

Copyright 2002 Knight Ridder.