On the surface, the San Benito High girls volleyball team’s three-game sweep—25-15, 25-15, 25-18—over Carmel on Tuesday was rather routine. The Haybalers (5-2) did what they were supposed to do in defeating a decent Carmel squad that entered the non-league contest with a .500 record.
However, it’s the finer details that ultimately make a team, and San Benito showed why it is aiming for even bigger things coming off a 31-7 season which included a Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division championship. There was a single point in every set that showed the talent and makeup of the team.
With the Balers leading 18-14 in set one, Kieley Hoskins came up with two remarkable digs that led to a Carmel error. San Benito held a 21-12 lead in set two when Nicole Andrade and Marisa Villegas both dove on the floor for one-fisted digs, leading to a Camille Finley kill.
Up 22-17 in set three, Finley delivered a service ace to bring the Balers closer to victory. It was in those moments that showed glimpses of the team’s resourcefulness and capability. The Balers know they still have a ways to go to become a CCS-championship caliber team, but they’re headed in the right direction.
“The more practice we get, the better we look,” said Villegas, who finished with 14 kills and 17 digs. “I think we can aim for the stars—the goal is to go as high as we can and go farther than last year.”
Finley, a senior middle blocker, has become a strong presence at the net with an ability to stuff an opponent’s attack cold. She had 10 kills and seven blocks, Hoskins had a team-high 19 digs while providing impeccable sets and Emily Schneider had four service aces.
The match was a perfect tune-up for the Balers’ non-league showdown with Los Altos on Thursday. One thing is evident: the Balers continue to develop cohesiveness on the court, as evidenced by their court coverage defensively. Coach Ruth Testman still wants them to communicate more—there’s an old volleyball adage that there’s no such thing as too much communicating/talking on the court—and that rings true for the Balers, who usually do well when they’re talking to each other.
“I’ve been passing next to Nikki (Andrade) for three years now,” Villegas said. “It feels natural … I think we did really good in this match. Everyone did their part and was super energized.”