Senior setter Erin Reddy saves a ball at the Homecoming game against Millennium, Oct 17.

VARSITY VOLLEYBALL: Baxter the owl brings good luck to 11-3 team

In a suspenseful home match on Sept. 4, SCDS won against long-time rival Forest Lake for the first time in 11 years. The girls were a little hesitant before going up against Forest Lake, but came out strong in the end, winning 3-1.

In fact, the varsity volleyball team has won 11 of 14 matches, losing only to Woodland Christian and Valley Christian twice.

“Last year our wins weren’t as consistent,” junior middle back Madison Judd said.

That’s putting it mildly. Last year, the girls’ final record was 11-9.

One reason behind the team’s excellent record is that many girls played on the 530 outdoor volleyball club team from January to May.

Juniors Jenny Kerbs, Aidan Galati, Sydney Michel, and Judd, as well as freshman Kyra Petersen, all played on the 530 team, created by coaches Jason Kreps and Drew Petersen.

“(530) taught me to move around more,” Galati said. “It made me quick on my feet and improved my leg strength and jumping height.”

However, some players attribute the winning streak to their new lucky charm: a plastic owl modeled after Baxter, the school mascot.

This owl, donated by freshmen Annya and Katia Dahmani, has been at every game except for the one loss at Woodland.

“Baxter relaxes us a little bit,” Judd said.

Even if Baxter is the reason, coach Sarah Song and Kreps are focusing on skills like serving.

“After the first two weeks, we focus more on game-related things, like moving to the ball, defense and passing, in practice,” Kreps said.

Senior setter Erin Reddy said that the team’s biggest strength is the middle hitters, while focus and determination are weaknesses. The freshmen on the team—Yasmin Gupta, Petersen and the Dahmanis—played club volleyball last year at Infinity and Gold Cal and have experience with the demands of varsity.

“It’s intense, but it isn’t as intense as the other teams I’ve been playing on,” Petersen said. “It’s definitely a lot more fun.”

Kreps, Song and JV coach Kristi Mathisen require the JV and varsity teams to attend each other’s matches, where they help officiate.

“This is a way to have the girls support each other,” Mathisen said. And JV players say that watching varsity’s matches is improving their skills.

Along with the JV players, larger crowds are watching the varsity. Members of the faculty, like physics teacher Glenn Mangold, have been coming to home games.

“It’s really exciting,” Mangold said. “The team is a good mix of players with touch and players with power.”

Previously published in the print edition on Oct. 28, 2014.

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