Finishing high at the High Sierra Invitational

Finishing high at the High Sierra Invitational

Eric Wong

Varsity girl’s volleyball tied for fifth place at the annual High Sierra Invitational tournament in Reno, Nev.

 

The girl’s varsity volleyball team finished tied for fifth at the High Sierra Invitational tournament in Reno, Nev. with a 4-3 record.  They overpowered many strong teams such as Ripon High School, who won the Sac-Joaquin Section Division 4 championship last year.  Coach Colin Anderson and the team felt that this tournament prepared them well for the upcoming league season.

The twelve girls left on Thursday afternoon for Reno, Nev., sporting tie-dye shirts and pink Mizuno backpacks.  They arrived ready to play on Friday, Sept. 4 with 35 other teams.  On the first day, a common case of the nerves took over the players, leading to some hesitant and uncertain moments on the court.  Defensive miscommunications and positioning errors led to dropped points and failed opportunities to put away the other teams. 

The girls came together for a pre-game cheer on the volleyball court at Galena High School, where the High Sierra Invitational was held. They looked to get a good start in their match by showing some energy on the court.  Picture provided by Nicole Dao.

With each game they played, the team started to ease-in and began to play their strong, fast defensive game to the best of their abilities. Coach Anderson was especially impressed with the seniors, who showed their experience by mentoring the younger players.  In particular, seniors Audrey Lee and Nicole Dao deserved praise for playing at the varsity level all four years of their high school career.

The tournament  evaluated the girls’ strengths and weaknesses. A key strategy that the team focused on was recognizing the big hitters on the other team, so that they could shut them down with a well-positioned block and quick back court coverage. In addition, the team also worked on their overall consistency.

"Our coach told us to get a strong serve in.  If we did a standing float serve at practice, we should stick with that and not suddenly do a jump topspin serve." sophomore Stephanie Zhang said.

Utilizing a core starting lineup with stronger, more experienced players, Coach Anderson fielded a team that was able to compete with all of their opponents. This gave the starters an opportunity to play with each other for most of the tournament, where they could settle into their roles.

"It helps to know who you are playing with because you know what they can cover.  This allows you focus on what you need to do and you can trust your teammates to do their job." junior Lucia Lin said.

Coach Anderson was able make some substitutions to try out different players in different positions but not as much as he wanted to. In the end, the girls made it to the top bracket of the tournament, where they finished tied for fifth place with three other teams.

"The top four in this tournament were great teams. They had girls that were 6’2", 6’3" and being bigger helped, though bigger doesn’t always mean better," Coach Anderson said.

The girls gave an outstanding performance and many of them stepped up to fill their roles.  For the team, it was a great chance to learn more about the strengths and weaknesses of their teammates and their limitations in how much they can contribute.  The results of the tournament left the players with the confidence to compete and play with passion throughout the league season.

The MVHS girls will be attending their next tournament, the Wildcat Open, at Los Gatos High School on Oct. 10.

 

 

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