By Nick Wilson
The fall sports season is well upon us now and I’m digging the level of play in local girls volleyball.
I had a chance to see San Luis Obispo and Atascadero this week and it was a tremendous match.
The Tigers look extremely skilled. And despite losing star setter Maggie Eppright to graduation, among other key players, the team looks really strong and maybe even strong this year compared with last.
Sophomore Holland Boege is a force. Her serves are powerful, her hitting is strong, and she seems to bolster San Luis Obispo’s offense when it needs it most.
The scary thing to for the rest of the PAC 7 League is that they have a young roster.
Freshman Kaitlyn Kimball had eight kills to join a group of strong hitters for the Tigers.
That being said, I think Atascadero is right there with SLO. The Greyhounds could have won if they’d had some breaks and come up with the clutch points since the first two sets were decided by a couple of games.
I think it will be a great contest the next time these two teams meet – which happens to be Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in Atascadero. So mark your calendars volleyball fans.
Another local team that deserves significant credit is Templeton High’s squad coached by Jodi Kelly.
The Eagles were good last year and they’re outstanding this year. At 9-4 and 3-0 in the Los Padres League, they have already knocked Atascadero, Arroyo Grande, and St.
Joseph in nonleague play and they shouldn’t have too much trouble this year in the LPL already off to a great start.
The Eagles feature some key returners from last year. Stars include Mari Stewart and Autumn Russell. They’re both tall girls with good jumping ability and athleticism.
Mari is going to be a great basketball player this year and give her team a shot to win the LPL now that Hannah Gilbert has moved on to Cal Poly from Morro Bay.
Other Templeton volleyball standouts are sophomore Lauren Ralston, junior Julie Cates, and junior Lucy Portillo who each have more than 30 kills this season.
It was obvious to anyone who watched the dominance of players like Millisa Morrow and Alyssa Koenig that Arroyo Grande was going to miss the two best players in the county this year. Both graduated.
But the Eagles have played well nonetheless. Any Ernie Santa Cruz team is going to be well-prepared, it seems.
And they have a core group of leaders. Megan McGuigan has posted 116 kills, Ashlyn Herlihy leads the team with 123, and Alaina Hogeboom has tallied 321 assists.
Hogeboom stepped into the setter role well last year as a sophomore and this year seems that much better.
The Eagles have a chance to compete as well for the PAC 7 League title.
All in all, this will be a good one. Volleyball is so much fun. The timing, the jumps, the hitting, the rhythm. It’s really an art. Like a ballet of sorts. And when it all works well, it’s a lovely sight to see.