Girls’ varsity volleyball secures second win of season over rival Branson

Grace Bouton

After winning their first MCAL game against San Marin on Wednesday, the varsity girls volleyball team defeated Branson four sets to one for their second win of the season on Friday, Aug. 24.

Branson, who finished 2nd place in MCALS last season with a record of 10-2, didn’t allow an easy victory for the Giants. The Bulls pulled out a narrow win in the first set after going down early and won the first five points of the fourth set after losing the second and third. Though the Bulls lost their early lead in the fourth set, they fought to get within a point at the end of the set until the Giants pulled out a 25-23 set win to clinch the match.

Junior Lucy Walsh sets up teammate Elsa Kemp for a spike.
Junior Lucy Walsh sets up teammate Elsa Kemp for a spike.

According to the Giant’s new coach, Ursula Kunhardt, Branson’s outside hitting was a strength that Redwood was aware of coming into the game. However, the Giants were prepared to overcome this strength through exploiting Branson’s other weaknesses such as having to replace key seniors with less experienced players.

“Branson’s setter graduated last year so we were able to feed off of them not having a true setter,” Kunhardt said.

Junior Lucy Walsh, a three year varsity player, also emphasized how Redwood’s high energy and communication helped secure the victory.

“I think that we didn’t let our energy drop and we communicated throughout the entire game which we a lot of times lack when we’re losing,” Walsh said.

According to Walsh, this enthusiasm and communication between players led to a strong offensive game and limited errors by the Giants, resulting in the win.

Senior Ella Spaethling, one of Redwood’s three team captains, also attributed the victory to the positive mentality the Giant’s held throughout the game.

The Giants celebrate after winning a crucial point.
The Giants celebrate after winning a crucial point.

“When we made a mistake we were able to come back and brush it off and though we might have had some bad stretches like when we went down by five in the last set, I’m really proud of the team for coming back from that deficit. Losing our first set of the match and coming back and winning three straight sets was really showing of how strong our mental game was,” Spaethling said.

According to Spaethling, the victory over Branson — one of the team’s biggest rivals — was monumental as it proved the strength of the Giants so early on in the season.

“The 2016 team, when my sister was a senior on the team, was the last reigning year of Redwood and since then we’ve haven’t been as successful as we were in the past and haven’t beaten Branson,” Spaethling said. ”Personally, being able to beat one of the better teams after being compared to my sister’s team is really special to me and in general beating Branson or Marin Catholic is great for everyone because of how deep the rivalry is.”

The Giants will be playing Tam at home this Wednesday, Aug. 29 at 6 p.m.