By Rick Assad
Watching setter Meghan Lynch handle and pass the volleyball to a hitter was truly something to behold.
Like Salvador Dali with a paintbrush, Stephen Curry with a basketball or Martin Scorsese with a camera, the artistry in which she was able to perfectly deliver the ball to a waiting teammate was uncanny.
Modest, Lynch, a four-year varsity player for Burroughs High and this past season’s Most Valuable Player, said it was the other players that made her job look easy.
“Volleyball is a team sport. Energy rubs off on everyone. My team succeeded this year because of our team chemistry,” she said. “I was only successful on the court because my team and coach [Edwin Real] believed in me. They trusted me and gave me lots of confidence when playing.”
While some individuals get singled out for being above the rest, Lynch, who was a captain and will attend Fresno State University in the fall and play on the women’s volleyball team, feels it’s a team effort that allowed the Bears to be so good for so long.
“I am very competitive and have known my team’s potential since the first practice of summer,” she pointed out. “We all pushed each other to achieve what we accomplished.”
Lynch, who played an abbreviated junior campaign because of COVID-19, led by example and was always ready to help the team in tough situations.
“Sometimes you have to be a bad cop. At the time my teammates didn’t always want to hear it but at the end of the day they all know when it is needed,” she said. “I gained my teammates’ trust, so they allowed me to get serious with them when needed and they all responded back.”
Real said that few players come along with Lynch’s talent and leadership ability.
“Meghan is extremely competitive once she steps on the court. She is a good teammate and helps bring out the best in each player,” he said. “She recognizes team goals and pushes the team to reach them.”
The Bears went 17-5 in all matches and blitzed to a 13-0 mark in the Pacific League this past season.
Entering the CIF Southern Section Division III playoffs, Burroughs had collected 13 straight victories before Mission Viejo swept the Bears 3-0 in a first-round match.
Through hours of hard work and practice, Lynch, who graduated with a bilingual seal on her diploma after learning American Sign Language, was able to refine her game to the point where it was almost second nature.
“I’m extremely competitive, encouraging to the other players, positive and have a strong work ethic,” she said of her personality and playing style.
Lynch, who tore her anterior cruciate ligament during her freshman and sophomore seasons, was glad she took a class on ASL because it brought her awareness into a different world.
“Burroughs has an amazing class taught by my favorite teacher, Mrs. Rincon. I started in ASL 1 my sophomore year and finished in ASL 3 my senior year, graduating with a bilingual seal on my diploma,” she said. “The deaf community is something that has always interested me. I’m super happy I took the class and was able to learn about the history of the deaf culture, the deaf community, and ASL.”
There’s nothing quite like putting in the hard work during practice and then seeing the end result.
“This season was full of fun and competitive matches. Of course, playing Burbank is always really fun but I would say our final league game against Arcadia which solidified us going undefeated in league,” said Lynch of the mental and physical preparation that it entails to come away with a well-earned victory.
Because it isn’t easy to be a student and an athlete, time management and dedication are necessary traits.
“All of the teachers at Burroughs understand a lot of the students have extracurricular activities like choir and sports,” said Lynch who was voted the winner of the Linda Murphy Award and was given the Principal Award and the 100 Service Hour Award. “They often will allow extended due dates for assignments. You definitely need to be disciplined and have good time management. At times it gets hard, but you have to push through it.”
You can’t play a sport and not enjoy what you’re doing. Lynch does and spoke about what it was like when the Bears were playing a match.
“Game day was super fun. I was never stressed because I believed in my team and Coach Real,” she noted. “The volleyball team has two traditions on game day. The first one is wearing the same JBHS volleyball shirt and doing secret sister.”
There must be something in those traditions because more often than not, the Bears came away with a win.
Though Lynch and her team enjoyed great success during the regular season and the playoffs, the squad didn’t realize it’s ultimate goal of winning a title.
Still, what she and the team did accomplish will forever be cherished.
“I’m happy to say that during my senior season I had no regrets,” she offered.
Lynch will begin a new chapter in the fall and looks back fondly at what the volleyball program has meant.
“I’m playing Division I volleyball at Fresno State but one thing I will remember about high school volleyball is how Coach Real always was there to help each and every one of his players,” she said. “He supported us and was extremely understanding. I’m also extremely grateful for all the friends I made.”
There aren’t too many with Lynch’s talent and passion according to Real.
“As a person she is outgoing and fun to be around,” he said. “She loves her school and supports other programs on campus.”