After going nearly five years without a conference win on the volleyball court, the College of the Redwoods women closed out the 2023 season with a bang this week, posting back-to-back conference victories over Shasta on Wednesday and Siskiyous on Friday.
And they did so in large part thanks to the six sophomores.
It was a challenging season in more ways than one for the team, with head coach Paul Castillo stepping down just before conference play began because of other commitments and assistant coach Kayla Costello taking over.
“Just their transition with me and the way they stepped up,” the coach said when asked what impressed her most about the group. “And the way they were hanging in there and staying on board.”
Several of the second-year players saved their best for last, with some of their best performances of the season coming in the last week.
They beat Shasta in four sets, 25-18, 20-25, 25-18, 25-18, and they rallied from a set down to beat Siskiyous in five sets, 25-23, 23-25, 25-27, 25-14, 15-8.
Beisal finished with 16 kills and a a season-high 12 digs against Shasta, while Olivia Railsback added 10 kills and a season-high 15 digs and Slayton had a season-best nine digs.
Slayton finished with 14 digs against Siskiyous and a season-high 42 assists, while Beisal had 13 digs and four aces.
Ceballos also impressed and finished with 20 digs in Friday’s win, while Railsback had 11 digs.
Larue added six blocks on Friday and hit a very impressive .625, while Caroline Dieker had three blocks in Wednesday’s win.
“They played super hard and they learned a lot,” Costello said of the players. “The team chemistry went through the roof at the end. I think they were definitely a lot more confident in themselves and as a whole.”
The back-to-back victories will give the Corsairs plenty of momentum heading into the offseason.
“It feels really good,” the head coach said. “I’m super proud of them. I’m really proud of the sophomores. I think they all just found their groove.”
The victories lifted the CR women out of the basement in the Golden Valley Conference standings and into fifth place.
They finished the season 7-15 overall.