The Californian

Fall teams striving for playoffs

Senior Msay Zhu playing in the match against Monte Vista.

Senior Msay Zhu playing in the match against Monte Vista.

Photo by Abby Fritz

Photo by Abby Fritz

Senior Msay Zhu playing in the match against Monte Vista.

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The Friday night lights have returned once again meaning only one thing: Football is back!

The season kicked off on Aug. 25 at home against James Logan and the Grizzlies rolled to three straight wins before losing 37-6 to San Ramon Valley last Friday.

Cal (3-1 overall, 2-1 EBAL) is tied for second in league with Foothill (2-2, 2-1 EBAL), which visits the Grizzlies tomorrow night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m.

The Grizzlies opened the season by blowing out Logan, 44-13, Livermore, 24-7, and Amador Valley, 27-7. 

Several players said the team’s chemistry and communication on the field has been strengths so far this season.

“The goal is to win as many games as possible while getting better everyday,” said varsity running back Christian Velasquez. 

The season concludes on Nov. 3 at Monte Vista.

“I’m looking forward to playing Monte Vista,” said senior tight end/defensive lineman Chris Henry. “ I think our loss last year really left a bad taste in our mouth and we’ll beat them this year.”

Cross Country 

The cross country team is looking to make a return to NCS this year. 

Cal boasts a youthful group of athletes consisting of mostly freshman and sophomores, with a handful  of juniors and seniors mixed in. 

“I’m looking forward for us to be a force to be reckoned within the EBAL and NCS,” said coach Nick Shea. 

The team is expected to compete in nine different meets, including the EBAL and NCS championships. 

“[I’m] most excited for NCS because I’m hoping to get ranked from number two to number one this year,” said senior Kayla Neumann. 

Last year Cal’s women’s and men’s team finished eighth and ninth, respectively, at EBALS.

Shea said being the team’s coach the past two years hasn’t been considered work for him.

“It’s not something I have to motivate myself or get really pumped up or prepared for,” Shea said. “It’s something I’m enthusiastic about.”

– Alex Suehiro

Women’s Volleyball

The women’s volleyball team is off to an excellent start this season, after winning its first seven games.

Five of these wins were league games against Livermore, San Ramon Valley, Granada, Dougherty Valley, and Foothill. Cal is in second place in league behind undefeated Monte Vista, the only team to beat the Grizzlies this season.

Cal (6-1) beat non-league opponent Castro Valley, Livermore, San Ramon Valley, Granada, and Dougherty Valley 3-0. In all of these matches, Cal dominated by beating the Trojans 25-17, 25-16, 25-23, the Cowboys 25-19, 25-14, 25-20, the Wolves 25-13, 25-11, 25-11, the Matadors 25-18, 25-20, 25-23, and the Wildcats 25-18, 30-28, 25-19. 

Against the Falcons, the match was really exciting and ended with a 3-2 victory for the Grizzlies. After winning the opening set 25-21, Cal lost 22-25 and 17-25 before staging its comeback. Cal won the last two sets 25-17 and 15-12. 

This was a good start for Cal since they lost to all three of these opponents last season.  

One of the senior captains, Marissa Tsang, said that the offense is really strong this year with a very dangerous attack and stable serves. This is and important factor for the team’s success throughout the rest of the season.

But she also said that the team’s passing and blocking is not the best right now. These are two areas where the Grizzlies feel they need can improve if they wants to continue its success. Overall, this is a good team with high ambitions.

In the game against Castro Valley, Cal swept the match in three sets after falling behind 9-2 in the opening set. But the Grizzlies put together a powerful team performance from that point on and beat the Trojans 25-17, 25-16, 25-23.

In this game, the team had 54 digs. Junior Clare Paraiso leads the team with 78 total digs, averaging to 11 digs per match. 

Sophomore Sofia Aguilera has 78 total kills and Tsang, in the center, leads the team with an awesome 158 assists.

Their exceptional offense was demonstrated against San Ramon Valley with only four attack errors. Cal’s performance has been consistent so far, which is visible in the team statistics.

Another important victory was against Amador Valley on Sept. 21. Cal won in three sets 25-20, 25-18, 25-19.

Cal’s only loss was to Monte Vista on Sept. 19. The Mustangs won in three sets 25-12, 25-12, 25-16 and are favored to win league.

Nevertheless Cal is off to a good start, especially for a team that placed fifth in EBAL and lost in the first round of NCS last season. The Grizzlies lost a lot of close games last season, but are so far winning those close contests this year.

Cal traveled to Carondelet on Tuesday. Results were not avaiable before The Californian went to press. The Grizzlies will travel to San Ramon Valley today for a game against the Wolves at 6 p.m.

– Antonin Urban

Women’s Golf

The women’s golf team has had a tough time getting in the swing of things this season with a record of 2-8, beating only Livermore and San Ramon Valley. 

But individual players and the  team as a whole have some highlights. Players are still looking forward to the rest of the season while they improve as a group.

The league has shaken things up this year by introducing tri-matches in which three teams play each other, deviating from the traditional dual matches. 

Head Coach Jacque Bowman said her coaching method is to try and motivate the team so players constantly improve so they can reach the postseason.

“It is a very competitive league. EBAL is one of the best in California,” Bowman said. “But I think the season is going awesome. The girls are getting some of the best scores they’ve ever shot.”

Captain Kori Conlon said her goal as a team leader is to help create an inclusive and supportive environment.

“Our mindset was just to have everyone play to beat their own scores and push each other to improve,” said Conlon. 

Junior Anoushka Erram shot a career-low three over 399 at Chardonnay, one of three 9-holes courses at Poppy Ridge, against Granada despite never playing there. 

“It felt amazing to shoot a 39 at Poppy and I felt very accomplished afterwards,” Erram said. “My mindset during that round was different than what it usually is. I was calm and focused on the game rather than my score and what my coaches would think.” 

The team has some new faces this year as well, including varsity softball player Jessica Olimipia, who said joining the team has been a huge transition. 

“I’ve been playing softball my whole life so it has been hard adjusting to the way golf is played,” said Olimipia. “The season is going by really fast. We are just trying to do our best and achieve some personal goals along the way.”

– Julia Tjan

Women’s Tennis

The women’s tennis team is off to a good start this fall season, winning their preseason matches. 

The Grizzlies (9-2)lost to Dougherty Valley 1-8 and Monte Vista  3-6.

But they are holding tight to their league, winning games against Amador Valley 5-2 and Foothill 7-2. 

“The season is going well,” said senior Jocelyn Yang. 

On Sept. 18 the team won the James Logan Tournament. 

The team is looking strong with a solid group of girls from seniors to freshman. The diversity ensures a successful future for the sport at Cal.

“I am excited to grow as a family and to get to NCS,” said senior Anne-Sophie Roobol. “We have gotten really close really quick,”

The season began well with Cal beating Livermore 9-0, and Granada 7-2. The team is perfoming well, looks forward to a successful season and their senior night game against Carondelet. 

 – Haia Haidari 

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Fall teams striving for playoffs