TEMPLETON — The Templeton High School girls volleyball team hosted their third home game of the early season on Tuesday night and notched another victory under their belt, cruising past the Santa Ynez Pirates 3-1 which, coincidentally, also brings their overall record to 3-1. The varsity game started about 35 minutes later than expected due to the freshmen and junior varsity teams battling out before the varsity has their turn on the hardcourt but that did not stop the Eagles’ student section from showing up this time sporting a tropical, beachy look while they terrorized the opposing team with chants, cheers and all sorts of bizarre noises you might expect to hear when walking past a zoo late at night.
Templeton opened the season with wins against Morro Bay (3-1) and Atascadero (3-1) before dropping their first game of the season to Laguna Blanca (3-0) on Aug. 29 and are looking to build chemistry and momentum before they start navigating the treacherous terrain that makes up the Mountain League. The Eagles have a young team this season and are admittedly in a bit of a rebuilding year after they said goodbye to nine seniors from last year’s team, three of which are playing in college, and only have two girls on the team this season with varsity experience, Hope Erwin and Mckenna Martin, even though they have five seniors on the roster.
This season head coach Cameron Schaeffer chose two captains and decided to go with one returner in Erwin and one newcomer in Asia Pollina and so far it has worked well.
“Hope is one of the two returners from last year, along with Mckenna. She brings that leadership and really helps to set a great example for some of the younger players,” Schaeffer said Wednesday. “I made Asia a captain because she does everything that a coach wants. She works hard every practice and she leads by example. Yeah, there are times, because she is one of the younger ones, that she can be a sophomore but I think her play really helps keep the team together.”
Pollina is only a sophomore but has taken over one of the most important and demanding roles in volleyball, the setter, and has excelled in the first three games of the season. Without the power arms like Lauren Reeves, Jena Kelly and Cheyenne Rice raining down heat-seeking missiles from above last year it is even more important to mix up the sets and spread out the damage while keeping the defense guessing.
“The setting position is such an important position in the sport and for her to be accepting of that, of all that expectations and be able to work with it very well and handle it the way she has so far is good,” Schaeffer said of Pollina
Tuesday night’s game against the Pirates showcased how well the team can play and, at times, how they can fall out of sync when things go wrong. In the first game, Templeton built a 24-18 lead but let the Pirates bring it to within two points at 24-22, forcing coach Schaeffer to call a timeout. The Eagles won the game on the next point but continued to make simple mistakes in the early part of game two as they were tied at 14 before finishing the game on an 11-1 run to take game two. Templeton dropped the third game 25-22 and then seemed to break the spirit of the Pirates in the fourth game taking it 25-17 for the 3-1 victory.
“There are still some little things that we are still having problems with that we can still tune-up and tighten up before we play SLO next Thursday,” Schaeffer said. “Hopefully we can give them a good match.”
Pollina finished the game with 31 assists, Martin led the team in kills with 15 and junior Summer Larsen did so defensively with 13 digs.