By Ray Hamill — Local volleyball fans will get an opportunity to check out the early-season progress of the Big 5 teams at the Arcata tournament on Saturday.
All five of the local larger schools, along with St. Bernard’s and Hoopa, will be in action at the one-day event, which features 16 teams in total and will take place at Arcata and McKinleyville high schools.
The host Tigers are coming off an impressive shortened spring season and a league title in 2019, but feature a much younger roster this fall.
“We definitely are young,” said head coach Laurie Griffith, who has just one senior on hand. “And as a young team, sometimes we look really good and on it, and sometimes we’re scrambling a little bit to know where we’re supposed to be and what we’re supposed to be doing.”
The team’s lone senior is Abby Costello-Anderson, who has looked good in the preseason and is expected to play a big leadership role this fall after getting an all-league honorable mention in the spring.
Another key returner is junior Lily Rust-Kelley, who will start at libero.
“She’s been doing really well in the back row,” the head coach said.
Overall, the team, which is 4-2, has been showing plenty of early improvement despite the players’ collective young age.
“They’re improving every day,” Griffith said. “The girls have a great attitude and a great work ethic.
“I think they play together really well. They have a great rapport and camaraderie and that makes it fun.”
As for this year’s Big 5, the Arcata coach is expecting a battle.
“It’s so hard when you kind of skip a year,” she said. “But everybody’s in the same boat. Everybody’s going to be up and down. It’s going to depend on any given day.”