good times local news media events catalyst santa cruz california metro silicon valley news local events san jose weekly pajaronian watsonville local newspaper, news events pajaro valley california gilroy dispatch local news events garlic festival santa cruz media events local california weekly king city rustler newspaper media local events car sales buy new car media
64.8 F
English English Spanish Spanish
April 1, 2023

Hawks open season with plenty of options

Anzar had 46 girls try out for volleyball; season begins

Maybe it was the Olympics.

Coach Chris Wardlaw of the Anzar girls volleyball team had 46 girls try out for the squad last week, an unusually high number representing approximately 20 to 25 percent of all the girls at AHS.

“We’re usually in the low 30s,” said Wardlaw, whose popularity and reputation at AHS perhaps had an affect on the high numbers. “I think, probably number one, it’s either cross country or volleyball, so there’s no other competition; either you like to run or you don’t like to run. I think volleyball is becoming a more popular sport, for sure.”

The high turnout was welcomed, especially after the Hawks – which went 7-6 in the Mission Trail Athletic League last season, 11-10 overall – lost five seniors to graduation. The team only returned two starters in Erin Deleissegues (144 kills, 429 digs and 33 aces last season) and Kerstin Tuning (381 assists, 22 aces), so having a slew of new spikers supplied Wardlaw with plenty of options.

Although those incoming players may be new to high school volleyball, Wardlaw said many of them – 13 of the 30 that made varsity and junior varsity – have club volleyball experience.

“Not as much experience as last year, for sure,” Wardlaw said. “But, overall talent level, I think is better this year than it was last year.”

“And we get along pretty well too, so that definitely helps,” said Tuning, a captain this season along with Deleissegues.

Wardlaw’s manta is for his team to play “beautiful volleyball,” a sentiment both Deleissegues and Tuning mentioned.

“If you play ‘beautiful volleyball,’ you have a better chance of winning,” Deleissegues said. “Do the best you can and play ‘beautiful volleyball.’

Deleissegues also noted the importance of sisterhood on the team, as the Hawks make it a point to be more than just a group of girls who simply play volleyball together.

“We’re friends and there are no conflicts,” she said. “Your focus is on volleyball, the team and sisterhood.”

Anzar will open their season Saturday at the Don Bosco Invitational at St. Francis. Pool play starts at 8 a.m.

The team could be tested next Wednesday when they host Monte Vista Christian, which went undefeated in the Monterey Bay League last season, but the real test won’t come until Sept. 23 when Anzar opens the MTAL at King City.

The Hawks could be jockeying for position with King City, Carmel and possibly Pacific Grove in league, as Santa Catalina appears to be the preseason favorites to claim the title.

“I think we should be right up in the pack like last year,” Wardlaw said.

Along with Deleissegues and Tuning, the Hawks return Ashley Homan, Camille Merz, Cristina Medina and Nicole Mello from last year’s team, meaning seven players are brand new to Anzar volleyball.

“There’s a lot more I have to teach them about Anzar volleyball,” Wardlaw said. “Last year, my talent level was concentrated in a few athletes. This year, I feel like nearly everybody on the court is pretty talented.

“I think we’re gonna grow quick.”

Andrew Matheson
A staff member edited this provided article.

Please leave a comment


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here