After a win against long-time rival Branson (1-1) last Friday, Aug. 24, the undefeated girls’ varsity volleyball team (3-0) swept Tamalpais (1-2) in three sets on Wednesday, Aug. 29. Redwood is currently tied with Marin Catholic and Drake for the top seed in MCALS.
Starting off strong in the first set, Redwood took an early lead of 10-3. With tough serving and solid digs from the back row, the Giants were able to execute and send hard hits from the front row (kills) at the Tam defense. Towards the end of the set, freshman middle blocker Brooke Leslie served during a 5-0 run to solidify their lead at 23-8. After a strong finish, the Giants took the first set 25-11.
Through three games, Redwood has averaged an impressive 9.8 kills and 9.3 digs per set, according to MaxPreps. Due to their target passing, Redwood was able to utilize their middle hitters throughout the game.
According to new head coach Ursula Kunhardt, Redwood struggled in previous matches with involving their middle hitters into their offense due to lack of confidence. Their use of middles was a large attribution to their recent win.
“We were able to run our middle hitters a lot this set. They got the highest amount of kills they’ve had so far this season. That’s something we are constantly trying to improve upon, and they did a really good job of it today,” Kunhardt said.
Redwood started off the second set slow, falling behind Tam 0-4 due to poor communication leading on the defensive end. In need of a sideout, junior outside hitter Jordan Perry spiked it down the line, putting Redwood on the scoreboard. In a closer set, delayed by frequent out of rotation violations on Tam’s side, Redwood was still able to pull ahead. Towards the end of the set, the team achieved another 5-0 run, creating a comfortable 23-14 lead for the Giants. They finished the set 25-18.
First-year varsity player, sophomore Ella Green carried the team with powerful hits. Green holds a hitting percentage of 38.9 and has the most kills, 28, on the team so far this season, according to MaxPreps.
“The setting on our team has grown a lot, and it’s been a lot more consistent making it easier as a hitter to get big kills,” Green said.
Similar to the two first sets, Redwood was able to secure a significant lead. Early on, the Giants were up 14-6. Junior Noe Corren ended the game with an ace, to secure the win of the set at 25-10.
According to Kunhardt, she changed up the lineup from their starters in the second third sets, so there was a shift of leadership on the court. Overall, Kunhardt believes the team played pretty well, but they are still working towards playing at their full potential.
“They’re coming off a season last year where they struggled a lot, and they’re relearning how to be a dominant, powerful team. That comes with experience and confidence which they’re learning and doing a good job of bringing onto the court during games,” Kunhardt said.
Senior captain setter Britney Klein also noted that the Giants have room for improvement. Klein believes they could do a better job of bringing energy to the court while remaining focused.
“We struggle with being loud on the bench, but not communicating as much on the court. We also need to be more focused and play at our fullest potential regardless of who our opponent is,” Klein said.
Redwood hopes to keep their winning streak alive at their next game on Friday, Aug. 31 at Novato High School.