Strong serving propels Golden Valley volleyball to victory

Golden Valley's Sophia McRae puts the ball up in a game against Highland on Monday. Eddy Martinez/The Signal
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The Golden Valley girls volleyball team avenged last season’s loss to Highland, sweeping them Monday night at Golden Valley High School.

The Grizzlies (5-2) jumped in front of the Bulldogs (0-5) early, taking an 8-2 first-game lead after junior Kelsea Shea recorded four straight aces.

Head coach Jack Johnson was pleased with the way his team served tonight and believes it’s an advantage his team has over the competition.

“All six positions around the serving rotation, I feel really confident that we’re very strong. It is one of our strengths,” Johnson said. “ Those tough serves turn into aces, but they don’t always need to turn into aces.

“A lot of times the tough serves are getting the other team out of system. If we can keep the good teams out of system, that keeps us in matches. Our serves kind of keep people off balance and it’s definitely one of our biggest strengths.”

The Grizzlies won the first game 25-20, but the score didn’t indicate how dominate they were. Golden Valley took the lead early in all three games and let Highland back into each game.

Junior setter Jordan Nunez, who finished the match with seven kills, thought her team seemed disinterested at times, which allowed the Bulldogs to fight back in each match.

“I think that we can play better than we did today. We didn’t play great,” Nunez said. “We played down to their level, but we still came through.”

Golden Valley continued its dominance in the second game, beating Highland 25-17 behind three aces from Shea and two from junior middle blocker Kasey Alvarez.

The third game was tied 11-11 at one point, but the Grizzlies only gave up four more points, going on to beat the Bulldogs 25-15 in the final game.

With Golden Valley taking an early lead in each game, every player on the team was able to get playing time.

“I really like when I get to see what I have. I managed to get every single girl on the court today,” Johnson said. “It’s good to see how they perform in game situations and I felt like several of them did very well.”

The only Grizzly who didn’t play was starting middle blocker Sahliyah Ravare, who was given the night off after rolling her ankle last week. According to Johnson, Ravare will be ready to go for the team’s next match against Royal Tuesday night.

While there isn’t a lot to nitpick in a three-game victory, both Johnson and Nunez believe the team made some mistakes and need to be more verbal with one another.

“That is absolutely our number one focus: communication,” Johnson said. “Talking to each other, making sure we’re involved every single play and making sure that after each play we’re talking to each other so we can correct any mistakes that are going on on the court.”

“We have to work on communicating, that’s the main one,” Nunez said.

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