We met at the old Von’s parking lot at the usual time. As the team was hit by the injury bug, we wanted to make sure that we had six players. There was no room for injuries or absences, and the team was very thankful to have the services of Samantha Harrison. Cerritos College was a little better than the last venue in that at least we had a private court.
True to form the team played like they had just arrived from a 2.5 hour drive. They woke up when they were behind 17-6 to Antelope Valley, but the team lost the game 14-25. There were 5 service errors and 4 aces against.
The second game started out much better. Brooke served 11 serves with no misses and 5 aces and Samantha contributed with 5 serves, no misses and 3 aces. The Starlings won 25-13.
The third game was, thankfully, not much of a contest. Allie lead servers with 7 serves, 3 aces. The newly awoken Starlings won 15-4.
This match was against the “Green Volleyball Club”, who had just arrived from bracket 14. Green had an excellent Setter who was wreaking havoc all day. Coach Stokes directed the front row players to keep an eye on “Number 11”.
The Starlings caught the Green Volleyball Club off guard in the first game. Solid play all around by the Starlings, featuring a key kill by Michaela and kills by Brooke and Allie lead to a comfortable 25-14
The second game was back and forth all the way. Green Volleyball came out with particular intensity, and caught the Starlings cruising. The 7 total service errors and 4 aces against made the game too close for comfort and the lining of Coach Stenger-Smith’s stomach, but key kills by Jazmine (who was also jump serving for the first time) and Allie, along with a Serving by Brook and Samantha gave the Starlings a 25-23 victory.
The 2 Match victories guaranteed that the starlings would at worst remain in Division 13. Coach Stokes, however, wanted the girls to have another shot at Division 12. Although the Starlings lost all 3 Matches in Division 12, all but one game was lost by fewer than 3 points.
A complicating factor was that Antelope Valley had recovered from the loss to the Starlings and Green VBC and Temecula in a 2 and 3 games respectively, meaning that the Starlings pretty much had to win against Temecula to win the bracket.
Game 1 was very exciting and featured 3 aces and 2 kills by Brooke solid serving by Samantha, and some solid Defensive play by Michaela. Also very exciting was a diving save by Jazmine, allowing the Starlings to return the ball and eventually win the point. The 5 service errors gave Temecula too many chances, but the Starlings won 26-24.
Game 2 showed what wonderful chemistry these Starlings girls have. With the score 12 to 9 Starlings, Temecula was threatening with a hot server. After a key time out by Coach Stokes, Temecula committed a rare service error to give the serve back to the Starlings. A few plays later, Jazmine “Tough as Nails” Stenger-Smith, was fighting back tears from a very painful ankle injury. Coach Stokes called for a time out to give Jazmine a rest and to stress the importance of staying on the court (if Jazmine had left the Starlings would forfeit the Match). Some minor adjustments were made to cover for Jazmine’s limited mobility. It was then that Grace rose to the challenge and served 11 serves in a row for points, giving the Starlings a comfortable 21 to 12 lead. Temecula again threatened with a hot server, but the Starlings battled and won 25 to 18.
Service errors still continue to haunt the Starlings, as the other 3 teams rarely committed more than 3 service errors per match. And now The Starlings Return to Division 12 for Mandatory 5.