Seniors Izzy Garcia and Noella Breytenbach were celebrated before the team’s final game
ATASCADERO — On Thursday, Oct. 20, at 6 p.m. on its home court, the Atascadero High girls volleyball team continued its winning streak and defeated Orcutt Academy in a 3-1 match. The night was not only about the win, but seniors Izzy Garcia and Noella Breytenbach were also celebrated before the game started.
“Winning the game Thursday night was fantastic, especially because for the final point, both seniors got to be involved,” said coach Christina Silva. “Noella passed the ball, and Izzy got the game-winning kill. After the ball hit the ground, the players on the bench rushed onto the court to congratulate both of them; it was such a great senior night moment.”
Garcia and Breytenbach were honored with a reception prior to their game. It was put on by some of the parents and held in a room just off the gym where the team would later win the season’s final game. Not only did the girls’ families attend, but they also shared stories about what the girls bring to the team and the other incredible things they’ve accomplished. Garcia and Breytenbach responded with thank yous and memories that they read for the whole crowd before the game. A portion of the school band also played a selection of songs during timeouts and breaks between the night’s games, a student-led moment celebrating the seniors.
“Izzy and Noella are both fantastic teammates and leaders on and off the court. Noella is one of our middles, and she often makes magical plays at the net. She seems to stay in the air forever and can reach things that nobody else could to keep plays alive. And when she gets a great connection with her setter for a hit, watch out. She has also developed into a solid, consistent server, passer, and digger across the back row this year,” Silva added. “Izzy is just so steady. She plays opposite for us, and despite lacking the height of some of our other front-row players, she sees the ball really well and anticipates what is coming. She is also one of the best at being positioned correctly early during rallies so that she is prepared to make digs or ready to hit the next ball. Both of these ladies have fantastic attitudes and are great encouragers of their teammates as well.”
This year’s girls volleyball team only had three players who returned from last year’s squad. Three more players jumped straight to varsity from playing on the freshman team last year, giving the team fresh players who jelled into the team that continued on to the CIF playoffs.
“They’ve grown a ton as the season has progressed. What they lacked in experience, they made up for in effort and teamwork,” Silva said. “They’ve also been really adaptable when we’ve had injuries or when for other reasons, we’ve had to change lineups.”
This year’s team features seniors Izzy Garcia and Noella Breytenbach, juniors Trinity Silva, Isabella Moen, Jaslynn Martinez, Katie Hesch, Rori Perry, Clara Haungs, and Kiera Taylor, and sophomores Abby Winslow, Corrinne Davis, and Dayzee Davis.
The win against Orcutt Academy, completed a four-win streak to close out the regular season, preceded by victories over Pioneer Valley, Morro Bay, and Santa Maria.
“Winning the final four games of the season feels great, and I think it has helped us build confidence and momentum heading into CIF,” Silva said.
The Greyhounds ended up third in the Ocean League and played their first-round CIF game on Tuesday, Oct. 25, at Hanford High. Unfortunately, the team lost against Hanford in four games, ending its CIF run.