Central girls volleyball is one game away from a state championship


Photo By Brianna Ayala

Senior outside hitter Makayla Lewis goes up for a kill in winning match against Buchanan Bears.

John- Gavin Mancha , Staff Writer

The Central High girls varsity volleyball team is heading into this season with no fear, even after winning the Division One Central Section Valley Championship after defeating the Buchanan Bears last year. Odds of another Valley championship look so far after the team’s recent 3-0 win against the Clovis East Timberwolves last Thursday, earning them a 9-1 league record.

Being ranked first in the TRAC and sixth in the state of California is no small task to live up to for the second time, but the team’s performance points them in this direction yet again. They started the preseason off with a 25-3 record, competing against some of the toughest teams in the nation at the Durango Fall Invitational in Las Vegas, NV where they placed 12th among 64 teams.

One of the team’s biggest strengths is their finely-tuned, long-term experience with each other. Senior Outside Hitter Makayla Lewis says, “We have been playing together for many years – since middle school for some of us.” Lewis adds this is a huge asset for team chemistry, “We know how the game works with each other,” she explains. Timing is another point to capitalize on with players this close. Coach Randy Burriss adds, “ We try and control the tempo of the game with our blocking, attacking and defensive.”

The Grizzlies have faced some skilled competitors this year. Some of their most noteworthy victories were against Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks and O’Connor High School out of Phoenix, but with these great wins comes the challenge of becoming complacent or buckling under the pressure. Lewis explains, “Our biggest competition is ourselves.” The team reports they are battling against their own high standards, their own fears, pushing to rise to the top of their game day in and day out. With every success comes a challenge and senior defensive specialist Gia Rozadilla says, “One thing we can improve on is our communication and becoming a unit.” 

With season tensions rising, one thing can be counted on. This team is solid. When asked who are some players to look for this season Coach Randy Burriss says, “We have so many good players, I can’t just list one.” 

And that has been proven. The Girls Volleyball team is one game away from a State Championship. The path to this amazing accomplishment was not easy. Starting the playoffs against a solid Clovis High Cougars team. That was no match for Grizzlies as they defeated the cougars in three sets. They continued their success as they rolled past Garces Memorial against with a score of three sets to none. The next game was the highly anticipated rematch for the Valley Championship against the Buchanan Bears. Unfortunately the girls came up short 3-1 but that’s not the end of the line. They refused to quit and continued to work even harder to compete in the State Open Division Playoffs.

Being ranked fifth in the state meant they would have to do some traveling. Their first competitor was James Logan High School based out of the San Francisco Bay Area. Even though the girls were coming back from a devastating lose they powered through and defeated the colts 3-0. Sacred Heart Cathedral Preparatory has had a great reputation and has competed at a very high level for the past years. It seemed as if the journey would come to an end here but the Grizzlies continued to fight. They defeated SHCP in a nerve racking, down to the wire game three sets to two. This upset lead Central to another rematch against the Buchanan Bears. But this game meant much more. It was for the Northern Section State Title. The stage was set and the Grizzlies prevailed in a 3-0 Victory to move on to the State Championship against the Division One Powerhouse Mater Dei. This game will take place at Mater Dei High School November 17th @ 6:30 pm.