A rally back from the brink of elimination to win the So Cal Summer Challenge invigorated the girls’ varsity volleyball team with momentum as it prepares to battle reigning State champions Marymount Sept. 12.
“This tournament win will definitely give us confidence throughout our season, but also remind us that nothing is a given and we won’t just win matches without working for it,” outside hitter Josephine Kremer ’14 said. “We have to earn every win.”
The Wolverines’ early loss to the Thousand Oaks Lancers in the Challenge Aug. 10 threatened them with elimination and placed them in the losers’ bracket for the remainder of the tournament.
The squad was able to avoid double elimination to reach the undefeated Lancers in the championship match. The team had to beat Thousand Oaks twice in order to capture the title, while the Lancers had to win one match since they were part of the winner’s bracket. The championship match went down-to-the-wire, where the Wolverines defeated Thousand Oaks 25-23 in a third game.
“Playing against elimination was tough since we knew we had to win four or five matches in a row to win the tournament, but it was also really good motivation.” Kremer said. “It really brought us together because we all really wanted to win the tournament.”
The squad also participated in the Redondo Union High School Tournament where they went 1-2 overall. Unlike the So Cal Summer Challenge, the Wolverines participated in the Redondo Tournament as practice scrimmages and a warm-up to the upcoming season. The Wolverines will compete in a scrimmage against Thousand Oaks today before starting the regular season with a home game against Santa Barbara.
“With our seven returning seniors, we have a really strong lineup who knows the game and are really determined to capture the Mission League title for their senior year,” opposite hitter Rachel Savage ’15 said. “We will come into every game wanting to win, and that mentality will carry us.”
In their second match of the season the Wolverines will have their eyes peeled as they face Marymount, last year’s state championship team, in a non-league home match Sept. 12.
“Even though it’s not a league game our biggest match will definitely be Marymount on Sept. 12,” Kremer said. “We’ve been preparing since the beginning of August just by taking every practice as seriously as possible, making every rep count, and playing every game-like drill as if it’s the Marymount game.”
The team will also face league rival Notre Dame Oct. 3 in a home match. The squad split the season series last year, losing the first match at Notre Dame and winning the second one at Homecoming.
Since its inception two years ago, the beach volleyball program has participated competitively in the Amateur Athletic Union for Beach Volleyball. In its first year, the squad came in third in the championship tournament, but was only able to reach the semifinals last spring. Although the team is composed of many indoor volleyball players, only six athletes are able to participate in each tournament.
“I think last year we had a lot of freshmen so we were a really young team, so we did really well for being such a young team, and it was really a learning year,” Kremer said.