Having to replace eight seniors from last year’s volleyball team doesn’t look like it’s going to be as big a problem as anticipated for the Eureka Loggers.
Eureka got the new season off to an impressive start on Saturday, going 3-3 at a tournament in Chico against some quality opponents.
And thanks to the early influence of senior captains Anisha Mae Rechelluul and Isis Poteet, as well as the immediate impact of a couple of talented freshmen, the Loggers have hit the ground running.
“I think they looked more cohesive already,” head coach Stephanie Napoleon said of the opening weekend performance. “Usually at the beginning of the season with a new team you’re learning, but they worked really well together.”
Napoleon admits she was a little concerned after losing such a large senior class from last year’s team, but the impact of this year’s senior captains has helped set the early tone.
“They’re definitely our leaders,” Napoleon said of Poteet and Rechelluul.
The weekend tournament was a good bonding trip on and off the court for all of the players, who stayed together at an Airbnb, and the Loggers took third place in the tournament’s gold bracket.
Eureka opened with a 2-1 win over Williams before falling in straight sets to a Ripon team that was “really good,” according to Napoleon.
And it was the fight her players showed that most impressed the coach.
“I really like their determination, because in each of our games we came from behind and they never gave up,” Napoleon said. “They came together and kept fighting and kept fighting, one point at a time, and we won some games.”
The immediate impact of freshmen Tiarah Maualuga and Alena Battle, each of whom is starting, augurs well for the season and the future of the program.
“They’re both doing really well,” the coach said of the talented duo.
Junior Baylie Battle, who is the older sister of Alena, also is expected to play a big role on this year’s team, as are seniors Kylee Waldvogel, Natalie Rogers and Sydney Waterman and junior Giselle Salas.
The Loggers are scheduled to scrimmage at McKinleyville on Wednesday and at Arcata on Thursday.
However, their scheduled home opener in the new Jay Willard Gymnasium has been pushed back.
The Loggers were scheduled to open at home against Hoopa next Tuesday, but the Warriors have been forced to postpone the trip, meaning Eureka will play a first home game against St. Bernard’s on Sept. 6.
In the meantime, the players are enjoying practicing in the new gym.
“It’s beautiful,” Napoleon said. “It’s huge.”