The Calistoga High volleyball team looked pretty strong when it opened its season with a 25-10, 25-10, 25-16 nonleague win over visiting Laytonville on Aug. 23.
Two straight nonleague matches against Anderson Valley didn’t go as well. The Wildcats fell 25-17, 25-13, 25-22 in Boonville on Aug. 25 and again when the Panthers visited this past Tuesday, 25-13, 25-12, 25-15.
The Wildcats rebounded at the Rio Lindo Adventist Tournament in Healdsburg on Wednesday, though, winning two of three matches in the best-of-three format — 25-12, 25-9 over Laytonville and, after a 25-14, 25-15 loss to Anderson Valley, 25-12, 25-12 over Rio Lindo.
On Tuesday against Anderson Valley, Arisbeth Jacinto and Daisy Avina led Calistoga with three service points apiece. Also on the team are Grace Galindo, Valeria Queipo, Jennie Blancas, Nayeli Cortez, Kassandra Duarte, Lupita Galvan, Daily Soto and Ashlynn Wilbur.
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Galindo, a senior who plays libero, didn’t think the Wildcats played up to their potential on Tuesday.
“I think we could have done a lot better,” she said. “There were places we were good on, like communication in the first and third games, but our second game could have been a lot better just because we were out of order and it got in our heads a lot and we didn’t really know what to do
“Our hitters, Arisbeth and Valeria, have been so amazing. They’ve gone from hitting balls out to hitting down almost inside the 10-foot line.”
Galindo said they just need to work more on what second-year head coach Lluliza Argueta is teaching them.
“Our coach pushes us hard and we like that because it just makes us want to do better and reach our goal, which is getting into the playoffs,” Galindo said. “She’s been helping us bring our mood up. If we’re down, she’ll make us feel good about ourselves.”
The Wildcats looked very solid defensively. They just couldn’t find a rhythm on offense, which usually takes more time anyway.
“I honestly feel that this match didn’t go too bad,” said Queipo, a senior outside hitter. “We were able to play as a team at the start. We were calling our balls and communicating. There was miscommunication in our second game, which kinda did bring us down a bit. But we were able to communicate. Grace, one of our captains, was able to tell us where we needed to go and what we needed to be doing because we weren’t actually able to get the ball up and get our hits. I feel like it helped us a lot.
“Even though we lost all three games, we were trying to keep our positivity up and our energy high because if we don’t, it’s all just going to go downhill. In our first match against Anderson Valley, we weren’t as competitive as they were. We weren’t really getting our bumps, sets and hits up and we were just trying to get the ball over the net. But tonight we were able to get multiple bumps, sets and hits from our setter Daisy (Avina), and Arisbeth and Daniela (Avina) were able to hit straight down so (the Panthers) weren’t able to get to them.”
The Wildcats (3-3) next host Upper Lake at 6 pm this Tuesday in their North Central League II opener.
“There’s a couple more things I would like to see,” Argueta said on Aug. 30. “One is more communication. It is very important, especially in volleyball. If you have a quiet court and there’s no talking, people are going to get confused. I would like to see more bumps going to the setter, and getting our serves in, which is very important. A couple of girls have, but we need to work on it.
“I feel like our energy was more alive in the first match against Anderson Valley than in this one — more happiness, more excitement. It was more mellow this time. Our energy was not where I would have expected it to be compared to the first match.
“(The Panthers) had a really solid defensive player and I feel like that’s really important in volleyball, and having that communication and always talking to each other. I saw them do that very well with their back row. Sometimes they would get in their head and not communicate with each other and that’s very important. Receiving a ball, you have to constantly be adjusting because not every ball is going to be coming to the same area, especially with different servers.”