By Ray Hamill — The Fortuna Huskies look like they could be the team to beat in what is expected to be a wide-open race for the Big 5 in volleyball this fall.
The Fortuna girls, who will be among the teams competing at the Arcata tournament this weekend, have already laid down an early marker with victories over Eureka and Arcata.
Head coach Rob Hayes has the foundation of a solid program in place with an experienced group of young sophomores and juniors expected to grow together over the next two years.
“Our juniors and sophomores are each their own AAU club when they’re not playing in high school,” he said. “So we’re going to be okay.”
Senior Hannah Uutela and junior Kylee Fennell are this year’s team captains and both are expected to provide plenty of leadership and play a big role.
A pair of sophomores — Sarah Keating and Grace Scilacci — are also expected to play a big role despite their young age, and both will start for the team.
Libby Johnston, a talented all-around junior athlete, will also start, while two other seniors, Lily Larue and Brizia Contreras, will both also see plenty of action.
And Hayes expects his players to battle all the way this season.
“This team doesn’t have any give-up in them,” he said. “If they’re down by four they’ll scratch and claw, and if they’re up by four they’ll scratch and claw.”
And he also expects his players to challenge for the Big 5 title, but knows they’ll have to stay focused the whole season.
“League volleyball is one of those things where good teams are good teams, but if you don’t show up you can get beat by someone you don’t expect to get beat by,” the coach said. “But if the girls stay together and stay upbeat and keep up the tempo, we’re going to be hard to beat.”