By Ghada Atalla
Coming off the end of a successful year, the UC High Girls Volleyball Team hopes to continue their progress into the next season through strong team chemistry and work ethic in the face of changes to the season.
Head Coach Aaron Hartin was hired as the new volleyball coach, and the athletes are hoping that he will bring a new era of winning and positivity. Setter Senior Delaney Burke shared, “A new coach is always an exciting thing. We are going to put our heads together and work as hard as we can.”
There is some uncertainty surrounding the 2020-2021 season due to COVID-19. “Even though we do have the potential of an upcoming season,” Middle-Blocker Sophomore Cassidy White said. “With COVID I still think we could bond at practices and possibly over Zoom.” Burke added the games probably will not have audiences. According to CIF San Diego, the girls volleyball season is set to begin December 12, as of publication (cifsd.org).
If the season goes on as scheduled, the team plans to strategically use their returning athletes. Burke affirmed that Middle-blocker Senior Pia Ashworth will be highly valuable to the team. “She is very helpful because of her blocking skills, and she is useful in offense,” she stated. As far as defense goes, Burke stated, “[The] liberos this year will probably be Cimone Platts and Stella Van De Moere. They’re helpful because you can not run an offense without defense.”
Burke also stated that she and her teammates are excited to defend the League Title. “We’ve all been talking about playing strategies and ways to improve the team for months. We’re very eager to play,” she said. “As intimidating as it is having everyone out for our [League Title] spot, I feel like it also helps the whole team come together to fight harder and keep the spot,” she continued. “We use that fuel our fire.”
“We played really hard teams in the League, like when we played La Jolla Country Day High School. That was really challenging for us, because they have one of the best recruits in the nation as their middle and she was a massive hitter. That really tested our defense,” Burke explained. “We had a really tough preseason last year. We were playing high ranked teams to prepare us for the League,” Burke said.
Every athlete has many plans for the upcoming season. Sophomore Cassidy White said, “My personal goal is to improve as a player and get more playing time than last season.” “My plans are to work hard, be a good, positive teammate, and form a really strong bond with my teammates, because the tighter the relationship of the team is, the better they play,” finished Burke.