- Published on Wednesday, 16 September 2009 03:39
- Written by Pete Borello - Town Crier Staff Writer
Pinewood School head coach Cayse Kaveny doesn’t want to get too excited about her volleyball team’s 2-0 start. Yet she can’t help but be encouraged by the Panthers’ performance.
"We haven’t really been tested just yet, but I am happy with the way we have responded when we weren’t playing our best," Kaveny said. "The girls have been able to make adjustments during the game, and that’s huge."
Pinewood didn't face much resistance in its opener, sweeping Liberty Baptist 25-18, 25-21, 25-11 Sept. 8 in Los Altos Hills. The Panthers showed their resolve the next day, however, winning at Capuchino in four games: 25-17, 23-25, 25-15, 25-22.
Kaveny was proud of the way Pinewood shook off a second-game loss to win the next two to take the match.
"So much of volleyball can be played on emotion and momentum," she said. "It is really important that, as a player, you are able to forget your mistakes and move on to the next play. I have found that sometimes that is the hardest thing to teach. I always tell my players that volleyball is a game of mistakes, and the team that makes the least wins. It is OK to make a mistake, even the best players do, but it is really how you respond to that mistake and what you do next that matters."
Junior Hailie Eackles made the biggest statement in the match, notching her first double-double of the season. The athletic outside hitter tallied 18 kills, 10 digs and four aces. Senior Jennifer Jue added 11 digs, while junior Lizzie Fields "was big at the net," Kaveny said, posting two solo blocks and three block assists.
Middle blocker Fields, all-leaguer Eackles and sophomore Michelle Tarlton are the team's top returning players, according to the coach. Pinewood has eight returnees, four of whom started last year.
Of the four players new to the squad, Kaveny said sophomores Kandace Korver and Jen Bodine "have shown the most improvement during the preseason thus far."
Bodine had seven kills against Liberty Baptist, tying Eackles for team-high honors. Senior Jessica Lacy contributed six aces in the match.
Kaveny said the Panthers' strengths include the "commitment to each other and team goals." Those goals include competing for first place in the West Bay Athletic League Skyline Division, in which they finished fourth last year at 6-6. The coach expects Pinewood to contend with defending champion King's Academy, Crystal Springs and possibly Woodside Priory for the title.
To do so, the Panthers must "hold one another accountable for the goals we set early on," Kaveny said. "I want them to support each other and believe in themselves, but a little ball control and a fast offense wouldn't hurt, either."
Ball control is the area in which Pinewood needs the most improvement, according to the coach, but she is convinced her players have the work ethic to get better at it.
"(They have a) willingness to work hard every day in practice and push themselves and each other to get better," said Kaveny, who played volleyball for Mitty High and Florida Atlantic University
It's that mentality that has Kaveny almost giddy about the potential of this team – even if it's early in the season.
"It is my third season at Pinewood, and I am really excited about everything we are doing right now," she said. "I have two great assistants (Kym Le and Carter Youngblood), and a team of girls I know will work hard for the common goal every day.
Pinewood is scheduled to visit Fremont-Sunnyvale 7 p.m. today.