Since taking over the Trinity Classical Academy girls volleyball program in 2016, head coach Rebecca Peluffo has cultivated a winning culture at Trinity.
Centered around a philosophy of players who play for each other, the strategy has paid dividends in recent years.
“The older girls have done a fantastic job of setting an example of hard work, determination and what it means to serve your teammates above yourself, and I think the girls do a fantastic job of investing in each other off of the court,” Peluffo said.
Libero Riley Spector and setter Nicole Amoroso joined the team in 2017 as a freshman and a sophomore, respectively, and have seen the team grow in a CIF-Southern Section title contender.
“Before this year, especially for the seniors, we hadn’t really had a year where we won a ton, so it’s been super fun,” Amoroso said. “We all just get along and are such a unified team, we work as one machine, not six desperate players doing their own thing which I think is the key to our success lately.”
Outside hitters Paige Kim and Tori Fay, along with middle hitter Reagan Fernandez, hopped on board last year and were part of 2018 team that reached the CIF-SS Division 8 quarterfinals, the furthest any Trinity girls volleyball team had gotten up until that point.
Purposely scheduling tough opponents to begin the 2019 season, the Knights began their season with three losses, keeping in mind that some early bumps and bruises will harden the team for a strong Heritage League season and possible playoff run.
“The first few tournaments that we had, we were getting into the groove,” Fernandez said. “The dynamic of the team changed a lot with the loss of the seniors and the incoming freshmen and sophomores and some juniors, as well, integrating into our team and finding how we worked best with each other played a huge role.”
The Knights closed out the second half of the regular season going 11-1 on their way to a Heritage League title and into the playoffs for the sixth consecutive year. That’s when the word “fish” started swimming around the school’s campus, as well as within the community.
FISH is an acronym that stands for First-In-School-History describing the first Heritage League girls volleyball title, but the phrase picked up more meaning as the Knights went deeper and deeper into the playoffs with everyone rallying behind them.
The Knights swept Arroyo and Geffen Academy in the first and second rounds, edging out Bishop Diego to make it to the program’s first-ever semifinals — where they defeated St. Bernard in five games to reach the title game against Oakwood, another first.
Trinity lost to Oakwood 3-1, but the Knights rallied behind one another to form one of the most lethal and competitive CIF-SS Division 8 teams as a family.
“I think that’s something that is special about our program,” Kim said. “I feel like we really come together, suffer well together and we triumph well together. This year, it’s just something about our connection, there’s just something special about this year.”