By Ryan Menzie
Signal Sports Writer
Midway through the 2021 season, the Santa Clarita Christian Cardinals girls’ volleyball team finds itself ranked No. 1 in CIF Southern Section Division 8. The Cardinals hold a 7-0 record, according to MaxPreps, and are coming off back-to-back seasons winning at least 18 games and making it to the quarterfinals before losing to eventual finalists.
The Cardinals lost their 2020 season due to COVID-19, but with more time to practice on campus, head coach Darcy Brown expects the team to work hard no matter what protocols come their way. Brown said the team last year had a lot of talent so it was unfortunate they didn’t get a full season, but is excited for the team this season.
“I feel we’re off to a great start,” said Brown. “I think the most important thing for the girls is to focus on the games that lie ahead. It’s exciting to be ranked as high as we are. Regardless, the focus is to work hard. We need leaders on the team and working hard is one of the aspects of being a leader.”
The Cardinals are a relatively young team, with only three seniors on the team. The Cardinals are led by junior outside hitter Hannah Shaffer, junior setter Kaysa Brown and senior outside hitter Nevaeh Phillips. Shaffer, who was a swing player as a freshman and has been on the varsity team since her sophomore year, just wants to keep winning and stay undefeated.
“It’s a good feeling to be ranked No. 1,” said Shaffer. “We just got to keep winning so we can make the playoffs and hopefully make a deep run in the CIF. As long as we keep the unity we built, we’ll be OK.”
Kaysa Brown, daughter of coach Brown, has been on the team for three years and believes that if they keep playing to their full potential, they will win every game.
“We just have to keep playing as a team,” said Kaysa. “It doesn’t matter what the score is whether the other team is beating us or not. We just have to play as hard as we can and not play down to the other team’s level.”
Phillips has been on the team all four years and just wants the team to do their best, play as a team and honor God along the way.
“It’s a really big deal to be No. 1, especially during my senior year,” said Phillips. “It’s the first time we’ve been No. 1 so there is a lot of pressure to do well. I just hope we keep working hard, win games, make it to CIF and go to state.”
The Cardinals’ next game is scheduled to be played Saturday against Avalon in back-to-back games at 12 p.m. and at 2:30 p.m. at Avalon.