By Riley Segal
Photo by Tucker Judkins
Online Managing Editor
In recent years, the girls’ varsity volleyball team has been a powerhouse in Rio Hondo League, winning the league title for three consecutive years. This season, the Tigers’ expectations are to the meet and exceed last year’s success by defending their title and advancing past the second round of CIF. Though the pressure is high, the Tigers are confident that they will be able to perform at their full potential by the time league begins.
South Pas has many new faces on the roster due to the loss of seniors and players that did not return. Many of the latest additions played on the junior varsity team last season. Seniors Amelia De Young and Megan Wong have returned after taking a year off, but senior Kate Kutzer is currently out with an injury. However, the Tigers are confident that they will have another rewarding year.
“There will be challenges because of a combination of losing good seniors and our competition getting better, but nonetheless I still think we have a good shot at winning league again,” senior Maddy Hirano said. “Kate has a huge presence on the court, so that will make some games a bit tougher, but volleyball is a team sport so that means that we don’t have to depend on one player. You need six to win a game and I think we have potential to do so.”
Coach Shari Iwatani is returning for her second year as head coach after the success of her first year.
“Once league rolls around and Kate comes back we’ll be in good shape,” Iwatani said. “Whether or not we’ll be able to click and find our rhythm by CIF is is the biggest question. We’ve been trying to get two players that haven’t played in a year back into the swing of things, and have been trying to make everyone flow, which has been a bit of a struggle.”
Hirano and senior Molly Feldmeth are expected to lead the team, and junior Maddie Saito will also be depended on due to her previous varsity experience. The squad has been training over summer break, and practices have gotten increasingly intense as season officially began. The Tigers fell in their first two matchups against Westridge and Mayfield Senior School, though they did find a victory against Alhambra High School in South Pas’ most recent game. The Tigers’ next game is away against Polytechnic School on Thursday, September 8.