FAIRFIELD — There’s nothing like a little experience – or a lot of it.
And a lot of experience is what all of the city high school volleyball teams as each returns four starters.
Here’s a look at each of the city squads:
Despite finishing second to Benicia in the Solano County Athletic Conference, the Vikings are coming off one of their best seasons ever, having reached the Sac-Joaquin Section Semifinals for the first time in 37 years.
Back as starters for Vanden are junior defensive specialist Lexi McMahon, junior outside hitter Meghan Herout, sophomore setter/right-side hitter Annalyse Silva and sophomore outside hitter Kamra Jackson.
Also returning are senior middle blocker Michaela Copp, senior right-side hitter Tana Groner and senior defensive specialist Brenna VanZant.
New to the team are senior outside/right-side hitter Sam King, junior middle blockers Mia Satterfield and Jennifer Roberts, sophomore defensive specialist/setter KC Nicado, sophomore setter/right-side hitter Mackenzie Murphy and sophomore defensive specialist Makayla Smith.
“We are big at the net this year and our reach is significant allowing us to be aggressive attackers and blockers,” said Vikings coach Cindy Scolavino. “I have three younger players that went to Nationals this year with their club teams. These girls are strong players and will assist in leading Vanden to a new level of play.”
Scolavino said the team’s goals are to “earn the league championship flag” and do better than last year in the playoffs when they reached the semifinals for the first time since 1975.
“This year we would like to do that one better and get that last match,” she said.
The Mustangs also enjoyed some playoff success last year, reaching the SJS quarters where they lost to eventual section champion and state runner-up St. Francis of Sacramento.
Rodriguez returns sophomore setter Jade Horder, sophomore outside hitter/defensive specialist Megan Bohorquez, senior outside hitter/defensive specialist Tori Bruce and senior front-liner Claudia Diaz.
Junior Ysabel Rose is at libero, while Brittany Travis and Jill Lea, a junior and senior, respectively, are at middleblocker.
“We are a very athletic team with good ball control,” Mustangs coach Herb Horder said. “This allows us to run a faster-tempo offense than most teams in high school.”
Horder said the team’s primary goal is to “always play well and put our best effort on the floor at all times.”
As for the bottom the line, “We also want to make the playoffs and contend for the MEL title,” Horder said. “With the strength of the MEL that will get us ready to make a good run through the playoffs.
Wins are still hard to come by for the Falcons, who are in their second season back in the Solano County Athletic Conference.
Their returning starters are setter Javona Hill, middle hitter Talia Glenn, outside hitter Karsyn Livingston and middle/outside hitter Kaila Tyson.
Also back is right-side hitter Ebony Hughes, with middle/outside hitter Aliyah Murray also expected to make an impact.
“The varsity team has a very strong offense,” Fairfield coach Adeanna Brown said. “The hitters are tall, strong, smart and dedicated. I strive to teach them to be scholars of the game by having them look for holes in the opponent’s defense. The hitters are strong enough to hit through their opponent’s block, but can also place the ball and hit around the blockers.”
It’s been a decade since the Falcons made the playoffs, and a return to the postseason this year is likely a stretch.
Brown has other measures of success for her team.
“My goals for the season are to prepare the girls that would like to play on the next level and to have a winning season,” she said.
The Indians have the misfortune of playing in one of the toughest league’s in the SJS, one that got tougher when Rodriguez came over from the SCAC to replace Fairfield last season.
Back for the Indians as starters are outside hitters Mariah Reyes and Jessica Pamatian, and middle blockers Seghen Woldai and Mari Nelson.
Also returning for Armijo are defensive specialist Akena Reyes and setter Brittany Saechao, with Katie Halls at setter and Analise Klassen at opposite hitter new to the team.
“Our biggest challenge will be dealing with the pressure to win,” Indians coach Carly Perales said. “We have as talented a team as we’ve had in a while and with that comes some higher expectations. We are going to be more competitive this season and when we have opportunities to get games, we have to be able to win big points.”
Winning big points is what leads to winning matches, a challenge every year – especially in the rugged MEL – for the Indians.
“Our goal is always to improve throughout the season and to compete every time we step on the floor,” Perales said. “If we continue to work hard in practice, push each other to get better, and believe in ourselves, we will be successful in the end.”
Reach Paul Farmer at 425-4646, ext. 264, or email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/pfarmerdr.