By Josh Levine
Behind solid play from five returning starters from last season, University High School swept Lowell 3-0 (25-18, 25-19, 25-19) in the nonleague season opener for both teams on Friday at University High School.
The Red Devils (1-0), who finished with a 19-15 record last year, had 30 total kills, led by captains Katherine Evers and Katie Kirkland. Evers finished with 10 kills and Kirkland had seven.
“I think we did a great job today,” said Red Devils head coach Ki Choi. “Our lineup is mostly returners and they played well. Lowell is always a tough opponent so it was nice to win this game. Lowell is one of those teams that always is consistent and always plays well.”
The Cardinals, under new co-head coaches Daniella Morales and Jacqueline Randolph, had 20 kills over the three games, but had a tough time buying in to the new system Morales and Randolph bring to the team.
“A lot of the city schools run the same type of offense,” said Randolph. “Our system is more East Bay like. The girls need to learn to trust each other and trust the system. We need that level of trust.”
Coach Morales felt the same way, adding that it was just as difficult for the new varsity players and for the returners.
“It’s like what happens when you have a habit all of your life,” said Morales. “It’s difficult when two new people come in and tell you to change everything you know. That’s why trust is essential.”
Choi, entering his third year as University’s coach, felt that Friday’s match was a good test for their upcoming matches against Branson of Ross and Bay Counties League West foe Marin Academy.
“Branson and [Marin Academy] beat us this past year,” said Choi. “But we played them hard. I think this year is going to be a good year from this, and I felt that today the girls played very well.”