Santa Barbara Trip Preps Volleyball

Grant Chudler, Staff Writer

Girls’ varsity volleyball played in the Tournament of Champions in Santa Barbara, competing against 16 of the top teams in the state. The tournament was held at Santa Barbara High School on November 1-2.

The team played a total of 4 matches, and won 2 of them. The team finished 11th overall. Despite this, freshman Josie Cole believed the team improved throughout the tournament. “It was fun, and we got a lot better,” said Cole.

The tournament was invitation only. “Some of the top teams in the state are all going to be there,” head coach Dave Chen said prior to the trip.

Chen stressed the significance of the 1st round of the tournament. “The 1st round is important, because if you win that, you’re automatically for the top half, so you can qualify for the gold. And if you don’t win that 1st one, you’re dropped down to consolation, and then it’s just round robin,” he said.

According to Chen, one of the goals of the tournament was not only to win but to prepare for the postseason. “We want to face some high caliber competition, to prepare us for the postseason, because we know we’re going to get challenged. We want the competition so we can be mentally prepared,” he said. Cole believes it was a good experience because the team competed against teams from southern California. “It’s good practice for postseason because the teams in LA are really good,” she said.

Most players and coaches drove to Santa Barbara, but some flew down. According to Cole, the team stayed at a Holiday Inn called Hotel Virginia.

Cole hoped that she and her teammates became “more connected as a team.” She said, “I think everyone improved personally, and we, together as a team, improved too.”

Chen believes the team learned to persevere and “fight back a little more” through the tournament.  Senior Natalie Meniktas said, “I feel like we still have a lot to improve on, but we’re coming together as a team.”