Hoopa Valley

Improving Warriors prepare to face defending league champs

Photo by Ray Hamill/HumboldtSports.com

By Ray Hamill — A fast-improving Hoopa volleyball team will close out the first round of league play against defending Little 5 champion St. Bernard’s in Eureka on Thursday.

And the Warriors are hoping to upset the odds and give themselves some momentum heading into the stretch run of the regular season.

After opening the Little 5 with a straight sets win over South Fork, the Hoopa girls fell 3-1 at Ferndale, before bouncing back with another straight sets win, this time against Northeast Prep.

And head coach Brittany Moore believes her players are making big strides.

“They’ve improved tremendously,” the coach said. “They have improved 10-fold. They’re hitting the ball harder, our serves are getting more consistent and they’re transitioning on and off the court.”

Senior Brooklynn Kurtz and junior twin sisters Annie and Julie Lanning are all playing key roles for this year’s team.

According to Moore, Kurtz has “definitely stepped into that leadership role,” while the Lanning sisters “push each other to get better.”

Senior Sarah Juan, meanwhile, has grown into one of the team’s emotional leaders.

“Sarah is one of our loudest players on the bench,” the coach said of the vocal defensive specialist. “She’s always there to cheer us on.”

The challenge for the Warriors, on the other hand, has been the mental game, according to the coach, but as a group they have bonded very well.

Most of the players have been playing alongside each other for several years and that chemistry is showing on the court.

“This group of girls have a good camaraderie with each other,” Moore said. “They lean on each other a lot and they look to each other for support.

“A lot of them have grown up together and have been together for years. And I feel that has transitioned in their ability to function as a team on the court. They trust each other.”

Thursday’s varsity game is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

Categories: Hoopa Valley, Volleyball

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