We played Qualifier No. 3 at the American Sports Center in Anaheim CA at 3:00 PM Saturday. At least that was the plan. We arrived at the ASC around 2:15 and discovered that the morning sessions were still in progress. We couldn’t find an empty court to warm-up on so we took over the hallway in the back of the building near where the basketball standards are stored. It was kind of crowded but it gave the girls a place to pass and set for a while. We were supposed to start at 3 on courts B3 and B4 but at 3:00 the teams on those courts were just starting the second game of their last matches.
Eventually a court opened up over on the D row and hustled the girls over there to start warming up. We were about 10 minutes into a warm up and some guy and a referee come over to me and ask “Ridgecrest Starlings?” When I yes he says “You are up on court C3, right now.” Then the referee looks at me and says “I need your captains.” and walks away.
Well my girls were all on the court with me, but all their bags and my stuff, including lineup sheets in my briefcase were over in the corner with our parents. I sent one of the girls’ friends running to get their parents and our stuff while we moved over to court C3.
When we got there we found out that one of the teams in our foursome hadn’t showed up, but we were continuing on without them. So as our parents settled in to watch my girls got onto the court and ready to play. I was a little apprehensive because of how fast things were happening. I have tried to get my team into a mindset where they can play under any circumstances, even when rushed and hurried. I was very proud that they handled the situation very well.
Our first game was against Revolution 14-1, a team from the Lancaster/Palmdale area. Their coach had approached me earlier and asked if all my players had made it, since he was still waiting for two of his. Apparently they did get there before we were supposed to start playing.
My girls muffed the first couple serves to give the Revolution team a slight lead. But that is it for that game. We rolled to a pretty convincing 25-13 win. My players were serving a lot better than last week, and playing defense well. We didn’t get a chance to run much offense. Most of our points came off service aces, service errors by our opponents, or illegal rotations by our opponents. The Revolution team was running the same complex player rotation and serve receive rotation that our local high school team runs. Personally I think they were crazy, the rotation was way to complex for younger girls, but more importantly the game they play at this age doesn’t require it. It is a serve receive for older bigger serves and a game that is played a lot faster than the one we play. In the case of our match those younger player’s inability to maintain or control their overlap cost them 10 points in the first game and 7 or 8 in the second.
The second game was a game of experimentation for my team. I managed to get three of my girls to give their jump serves a try. One of them struggled with it a bit but the other two were doing well. They all three jump serve well in practice but are all afraid to do it in games. Hopefully the success they had will encourage them to use it more often. We won the second game 25-15.
Our second match was against a team from Palm Springs called Club Mojave. This team looked to be a stronger team than our first opponent. But they had a really hard time receiving our serves. We committed four serve errors that game, and won the game 25-5. In the second game our opponents got them selves collected and started playing some volleyball. At one point they had a 13-9 lead on us. But some solid serving (no jumps) and some good offensive plays finally led us to a 25-19 victory.
With the missing team never showing up we recorded a couple forfeits. So our record for the day was 3-0 in matches, 6-0 in games for a first place finish in our bracket. That finish should put us in the division 13 when the mandatory tournaments start next month.