Royals women’s volleyball review: October 14–15
By Davie Wong, Sports Editor
The women’s volleyball team is coming into this year with high expectations, both from fans, and themselves. The team’s ambition will be put to the test as they try to balance change and high performance. While turnover is normal for collegiate programs, what is abnormal this year is the presence of a new coach. Jeff Ross comes into the program after being an assistant coach to the UBC Thunderbirds, as well as a variety of other involvements with the sport.
Last Friday, Jeff got his first taste of PACWEST action as his team took on the visiting CBC Bearcats in the team’s home opener. Jeff got everything he could’ve asked for from his opening squad, and the team showed their dominance on the court. Juliana Penner shredded the CBC defensive formation on the serve, and the captain showed exactly why she was an All-Star. The home team took the set 25–17, in a statement that showed that this year’s team wanted it all.
The next set was cleaner by the Bearcats, but the Royals were still the team finding the way to get cheeky points off the serve. Rookie Vania Silva dos Santos de Oliveira was the server this time that found all the right gaps, as the Royals outclassed their opponents in the set, taking it 25–20.
But if there’s one thing you can say about the Royals’ opponent, it’s that they never give up. The Bearcats came storming into their do-or-die set, and the Royals looked like they would falter. But once again, it was the captain with the serving arm who really rallied her team. Penner served for eight straight points before being retired, taking her team from down three to up five. Her team closed out the set as the Royals swept the Bearcats in the first game of the year for them.
The two teams met again the next game, as the Bearcats looked to redeem themselves. They did so right from the start, stealing a set away from the Royals, 25–21. But the rude wakeup call sprung the Royals into action, and they punished the Bearcats.
The second set was a statement, with the Royals really hammering down, taking it 25–18. The third set was nearly an exact repeat, with the Royals never letting the Bearcats back into the game, taking it 25–17. The Royals then closed out the game from there, finishing with a score of 3–1, and completing their weekend 2–0.
The game were statements in and of themselves for the team, and new head coach Jeff Ross got the chance to talk about his team’s performance. “I thought they did very well. They definitely took care of the ball and played together as a unit. It was a good team win for us. The team came together and played stronger after 20 minutes. Juliana (Penner) did well this weekend. She’s definitely the captain for a reason, and she showed her fifth year experience this weekend.”