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The varsity volleyball team started the 2016 season with high expectations and determination to match. Before the Bears’ first match, head coach Fletcher Anderson said, “We expect seniors Kirby [Knapp], Eliza [Grover], and Jacqueline [DiSanto] to be our big playmakers this year.”

 

DiSanto attacks against a big Saint Francis block.

DiSanto attacks against a big Saint Francis block.

They started play with a preseason match versus rival Menlo, and won in five sets in front of a huge home crowd and seventh woman club. From there, The Bears battled through a tough preseason, facing opponents St. Ignatius and Valley Christian. These challenging matches prepared M-A to dominate in league play.

The seventh woman club cheers on DiSanto before she serves.

The seventh woman club cheers on DiSanto before she serves.

 

The first Peninsula Athletic League (PAL) match was against Half Moon Bay and the Bears took the match in three straight sets. Grover had a standout performance hitting right-side in this game. Senior Casey Olsen also impressed her coaches as she fearlessly ran a 5-1 rotation for the first time in her high school career.

 

After Half Moon Bay, the varsity team took off on a winning streak and never looked back. Currently the Bears are undefeated in PAL and are set to move on to Central Coast Section (CCS) play in early November.

When asked about her team, assistant coach Lauryn Anderson said, “Having two young middles has definitely been the biggest change this season. We have also been working on our 6-2 option (two setters play in one game) which we didn’t run much last year. Our young middles stepping up has given us more options for our lineup which is great.”

Senior Chloe Johnson dives to dig a tough ball.

Senior Chloe Johnson dives to dig a tough ball.

Aside from their obvious skill and strength on the court, the Bears have proven day after day that they are committed to working hard and being good teammates.

DiSanto celebrates after a match.

DiSanto celebrates after a match.

F. Anderson added, “I really like the way this squad is coming together and bonding. It’s almost like a little family on this team. When one girl is struggling, another is there to pick up the slack. Our young middles also continue to really improve their game.”

Freshman middle Marit Hoyem gets a kill.

Freshman middle Marit Hoyem gets a kill.

This closeness is evident every time the team plays. Last Thursday, October 13, the Bears defeated Carlmont in three straight sets and were outstanding on both offense and defense. Before the season, Anderson described Carlmont as the Bears’ “nemesis in league.” In this match, sophomore Erica Fischer played libero for the first time.

L. Anderson commented, “Erica has been a big surprise. She has recently been transitioned to a DS (defensive specialist)/libero spot and is doing a great job. Our young middles, Marit and Alicia have both improved a ton and are continuing to do so with every practice.”

Fischer digs Carlmont's attack.

Fischer digs Carlmont’s attack.

 

With this victory out of the way, M-A played Saint Francis in a non-league match on Friday and won in three straight sets. The Bears look forward to their next league match against Sequoia on Tuesday, October 18, at Sequoia.

L. Anderson noted, “This past week was definitely the week we were expecting to be the most challenging with Aragon, Carlmont, and St. Francis. Our match versus St. Francis was the best we’ve played since preseason. The girls came in ready to play and we were firing on all cylinders. It was fun to watch.”

With just two more weeks of PAL play, the undefeated Bears are in a good position to advance into the postseason.

The Bears come together before a match.

The Bears come together before a match.

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