Melanie Zhang ’19
WHS girls varsity volleyball is undefeated with a record of 15-0 and is currently ranked as the 29th best team in the state. Players are hoping to keep their winning streak as they go into the rival matchup with Oaks Christian on Thurs., Oct. 5 at 6 p.m.
OCHS’s volleyball team is an equal competitor to WHS, making the games between the two teams highly anticipated.
“Oaks Christian [is] a league opponent that has just as many wins as we do; we seem to be very closely matched,” said head coach Ernest Rittenhouse. “We have some of the same strengths.”
Setter and opposite hitter Jennifer Trephan ‘19, looks forward to the game but also notes OCHS’s advantages.
“We have always had a rivalry against Oaks and it would really get us pumped if we beat them. I think we have a good chance of winning, but it will be tough,” said Trephan. “They have big middles. Our middles are fast, but they aren’t as tall.”
Outside hitter Katie Fleck ‘20 knows that concentration is necessary in order to win in a game with the rival school.
“Focus is a major component in a game like one against Oaks Christian,” said Fleck. “The second we get in our own heads is when we need to step back and relax and just play as a team.”
Because WHS has been the Marmonte champions for the past four years, the main goal of this season is to receive the championship title again.
“We want to win the Marmonte League, [which] puts us in a good position going into playoffs,” said Rittenhouse.
Factors such as the compatibility of the team members contribute to success during games. This year, all except one player are juniors, which benefits the team’s chemistry.
“We are all pretty good friends outside of volleyball,” said Trephan. “We really come together as a team and we rarely fight, but when we do, we work it out.”
Despite being the only sophomore, Fleck enjoys being on the team.
“The team is always being really supportive, said Fleck. “We all get along really well and I love playing with everyone on the team.”
Cooperation within the team is vital during games, since trust is important for the girls in times of high stress.
“When the score is very close [or] when [we] fall behind, it helps [if teammates have] trust in each other,” said Rittenhouse.
Additionally, players’ individual strengths are crucial to the team’s continuous victories.
“Elizabeth Crisp ‘19 and [Fleck] are really good hitters, and Paris Short ‘19 is a very good passer,” said Trephan. “We all do our job and we all have a part in the team.”
As for the high state ranking, there is no pressure felt by Rittenhouse to maintain it.
“There’s so many high schools in CA, [so] you just don’t know,” said Rittenhouse. “We take it with a grain of salt [and] just try to focus on the opponent we are playing next.”