By Bonta Hill
Jewish Community High School of the Bay, looking to build on last season’s playoff appearance, took a step toward repeating that accomplishment with a 3-1 win (25-14, 22-25, 25-22, 25-11) over San Francisco Christian on Tuesday at USF’s Koret Center.
The playoff appearance in 2009 was the first in school history for Jewish Community, and the Wolves (1-1, 1-0) appeared to face a considerable test against the defending Private School Athletic League champions in San Francisco Christian.
Even with high expectations, the match had plenty of sloppy moments from both teams
“We’re still learning to work as a team, to communicate better, but I see good things happening this season,” said Jewish Community head coach Marie Cabugos.
In the first game, the teams traded points, but both squads couldn’t shake off the early jitters that caused unforced errors on both sides.
With the Wolves leading 9-7 in the first game, Cabugos called a timeout to settle her team down. After a quick lecture, the Wolves came out and coasted the rest of the game to win 25-14.
The second game saw a completely different Trojans team that jumped out to a 5-1 lead, and later 10-5.
The Wolves would tie the game at 10-10, but they never seemed to match the Trojans intensity, as San Francisco Christian took the game 25-22.
“It’s been a challenge because of all the new players we have,” said the Trojans’ lone senior, Brittany Gerlach. “However, we’ve been working hard and we’ll be a good team [later in the season].”
Game three would see both teams struggle with consistency and neither team held a lead higher than three points.
The Wolves, unlike the Trojans, only lost one senior from last season’s roster, and had just enough to close out the third game 25-22.
“I really liked how our libero Jael Berger stepped up in the back row for us,” Cabugos said. “Paige [Lerman] was also really strong for us.”
The fourth game saw the Wolves come out strong, as they stormed out to a 14-2 lead. With the Trojans only having eight players on their roster, they couldn’t overcome the early hole and lost the deciding game 25-11.
“We’re young, but we showed a lot of promise and potential,” said Trojans head coach Sofia Valenzuela. “We need to work on our serving and our blocking, but I’m proud of our team’s fight.”
With the expectations they have set for themselves, the Wolves also feel they can play considerably better.
“We know we can play a lot better than we did,” said Wolves outside hitter Jessica Katzki. “We can definitely work on our communication, but we’ll continue to work hard.”