Former Eureka High standout Makaila Napoleon enjoyed an impressive debut at College of the Redwoods on Saturday, as the Corsairs opened the new volleyball season with two matches at home.
Napoleon, who has transferred back to the area after two years playing basketball at Oregon Tech, was one of several players to show plenty of promise for the CR women against Umpqua and Mendocino.
“We saw a lot of good stuff,” head coach Petra Lorenzi said. “But there was definitely some things we need to work on.”
The Corsairs lost both matches, falling 25-16, 25-7, 25-16 to Umpqua in an exhibition match, before pushing Mendo all the way, 24-26, 25-21, 27-25, 18-25, 15-7, in a game Lorenzi felt they should have won.
“Makaila was probably the best hitter on the court today,” the head coach said. “I think she did a phenomenal job.”
She wasn’t the only CR player to impress.
Josie Peterson, a 2020 St. Bernard’s graduate, also enjoyed a strong debut with the team, returning to the court for the first time in almost two years.
“She’s powerful,” Lorenzi said of Peterson, a tenacious multi-sport athlete in high school. “She dominated at the net and she was definitely a bright spot for us. She’s got a high ceiling.”
Liberty Sateven, a St. Paul, Minnesota native who plays libero, also had a big day in her first action for the Corsairs.
“You could see her experience on the court,” Lorenzi said.
Likewise with outside hitter Addi Slaybaugh, who “showed a lot of composure on the court today.”
Despite the results, the head coach was happy with a lot of what she saw, as the CR women build toward their conference opener in October.
“This is probably one of the strongest athletically skilled teams I’ve had, and we saw that on the court today,” she said. “Overall, I thought everybody showed what they’re capable of, and I think we’re going to put together some strong matches this year.”
The matches were the first for the team since 2019.
“It was just great to be back in the gym and to be able to have fans,” Lorenzi said.
The Corsairs travel to play Rogue Valley in Medford on Tuesday and then play Santa Rosa and Marin in Santa Rosa on Friday.