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The Cardinals volleyball team got its first match win of the new season Sept. 9 as they edged Woodland Park 2-1 during the Early Bird Invitational Volleyball Tournament held at Elizabeth High School.
Elizabeth came into the match with Woodland Park 0-4 in the tournament and 0-6 overall despite the fact that the Cardinals delivered their share of hard-driving kills and well-placed serves. Many of the sets lost in the first six matches were decided by two points.
For example, Elizabeth lost a set to Evergreen in the tournament 25-23 and lost a set in the tournament to Rangeview, 26-24.
Woodland Park won the first set of the match with Elizabeth, 25-19. The Cardinals rallied and won the next two sets 28-26 and 15-13. Freshman Rhys Nesshoefer turned in an outstanding performance against the Buffaloes as she made nine kills, served one ace and made 10 defensive digs. Teammate Kyle Green made eight kills in the win over the Panthers.
“We are a senior-laden team this season but we are young when you look at varsity volleyball experience,” Cardinals Coach Lori McCoin said. “This tournament is very important to us. We have talented players, so the five tournament matches makes it possible to try player combinations as we look for the lineup that works the best for us.”
She said the strength of this year’s team is hitting, which is the Cardinals’ firepower.
“Our attack has scored a lot of points,” the coach said. “So we are working very hard to make our defense more consistent so we can get our firepower going.”
Elizabeth has 46 players on Cardinal teams playing four levels of high school volleyball this year.
“We had a strong freshman class last year and three of them are on varsity this season,” McCoin said. “We also had a strong group of freshmen come in this season and those girls are working hard to improve and polish their volleyball skills.”
Senior Calli Moore is one of the team leaders and one of three year-round volleyball players on the team.
“I picked volleyball as my sport because it is a team sport,” she said. “The whole team comes together after every point so we can share the experience and the excitement.”
She said she likes volleyball’s fast-paced action as together the team works to get the ball back over the net in a way the opponents can’t return it.
“I am a hitter, I am also a setter and, like all the other players, I work to be a good defender,” she said. “I guess hitting is my favorite thing to do when I play volleyball. It is great to jump high and drive the ball to the floor across the net for a kill. When a teammate sets the ball for me, I use my vertical jump to get up in the air as I look for an open spot on the floor to place the hit. If there isn’t a good spot, I will try to mix up the defender by lightly tapping the ball over or to the side of the blockers.”
She said she hopes to be offered a scholarship to play volleyball in college. Her choice would be a California school because she would like to major in marine biology.
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