For the Santa Clara girls volleyball team, winning on the court hasn’t come easy the past two seasons. Back-to-back 1-11 league seasons certainly isn’t ideal, but wins and losses don’t always tell the whole story.
This season will be the third year the team has played under Head Coach Megan Morse-Quevedo, who graduated from Santa Clara High herself back in 2012. Other coaches, particularly other young coaches, might not want to continue leading a team when going through tough seasons, but coach Morse-Quevedo is not one to quit on her squad.
“I’m feeling really good about this season. I think it will be really good for the program,” noted the 24-year-old Head Coach. “I don’t know necessarily what my future in coaching looks like, but I don’t want to leave this program until I’ve left my stamp on it.”
For most sports programs, a third year is where expectations and pressure tend to come up a notch. A year ago, the Bruins lost both matches against rival Wilcox, but six out of the eight sets were decided by four points or less, including a decisive fifth set at 15-13. While the other loss was a 3-0 final, all three sets were decided by four points or less, two of them by just two points.
Santa Clara isn’t far off from having a few more wins under their belt. Time is somewhat of the essence as this upcoming season will also be the last for Bruins star Fiona Paul. An outside hitter and libero, Paul is entering her senior season.
“There is a little bit of pressure this season,” admitted coach Morse-Quevedo. “I want all of them to have a good year, but [Fiona] is one of our stronger players and of course, as a senior, I would want her to go out on a high note. At the same time, I don’t play favorites. I want all of them to work hard. I do feel confident about this year as a whole.”
Coach Morse-Quevedo also highlighted two other players that she is excited to see return this season.
“I’m looking forward to seeing Bianca [Blandford] this year. She’s great at digging and has been getting better at serving. She has a natural sense to read the hitter and correctly position herself to dig a ball which is crucial for our team since we’re gonna be a defense focused group. Ria [Grewal] was new to us last year as a transfer and I’m really hoping she comes back out, she adds a little bit of height to our team.”
Blandford, Grewal and Paul will all be seniors this season. The trio has the ability to be the pillars of a for a team that surprises some of their opponents with their level of play. Led by their coach, Santa Clara will likely be a hungry bunch of Bruins looking to put last season behind them.
They’ll get their chance to get back at their rivals right off the bat with the first league match of the season at home against Wilcox on Sept. 6.
“Honestly, after tryouts, that’s all I’m going to be preparing them for is that game,” chuckled coach Morse-Quevedo. “I’m hoping we are able to do pretty well against them this year.”