Girls’ varsity volleyball defeats Cardinal Newman at first home game of the season

On Thursday, Sept. 1, the girls’ varsity volleyball team defeated Cardinal Newman High School in three sets to win their first home game of the season. Filled with excitement to see the 2021 Division II state champions back on the court, the student section, dressed in red, brought energy and exhilaration to the game.

The Giants started off slowly in the first set with a few miscommunications on the court, causing the team to give away some early points. Despite this, they remained unphased and managed to shift the momentum in their favor. 

First year varsity volleyball coach Diamond Hollis was ecstatic about her first game in the Phil Roark Gymnasium. She also noticed the team’s change in intensity as the Giants started to perform better in their offense. 

“In the first set we were a little slow, but towards the end, around point 20, something clicked and we started speeding up the game. We carried that [momentum] into the second set,” Coach Hollis said. 

As the energy finally picked up, Redwood concluded the first set with a kill, winning 25-18.

Celebrating the point, the sidelines enthusiastically cheer on their teammates.

Transitioning into the second set, the Giants came out focused, charging after multiple offensive plays. Middle blocker and senior Lola Folk commented on the effect that the change of game pace had on their success offensively. 

“This game we had a lot of energy and we put the pedal to the metal and kept going. It was really fun,” Folk said.

The Giants kept up this positive spirit throughout the second set, winning 25-18. Their offense was consistent, making it difficult for Cardinal Newman to keep up.

“What we’ve been working on recently is hitting around the block and covering,” Folk said. “I think we did that really well today, and we served really aggressively.”

Entering the third set, the two teams were gaining points back and forth. Despite the tight score at the start, the Giants managed to pull ahead. Not letting down, Cardinal Newman took a timeout at 18-10, with the Giants in the lead. Following the timeout, intense rallies ensued, but the Giants were able to win the game with a score of 25-13 in the last set. Celebrating their victory, the Giants punched their fists into the air, smiling. After the game, Coach Hollis was satisfied with the way her team had performed. 

“I felt like we took care of our side. Today we really worked on playing Redwood volleyball, which is fast and clean. And we came out and did that with a lot of great serve-receiving stats, a lot of perfect sets and a lot of really good swings,” Coach Hollis said. 

Senior and University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) volleyball commit, Emma McDermott, had an especially outstanding game. McDermott finished with 16 kills in total, an impressive tally.

Swinging through the ball, Emma Mcdermott gets a kill against Cardinal Newman.

With the rest of the season still ahead of them, the varsity girls are planning on developing their skills as a team. Senior Tusali Nalluri understands her team’s potential and has high hopes for the season.

“I’m looking forward to seeing us rise up to another level, and build on the great game we already have,” Nalluri said.

Beginning the season with a win for their first home game, the girls volleyball team is heading in the right direction. With a talented roster full of accomplished and experienced players that have goals to repeat their state championship, the sky’s the limit for the Giants.