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Volleyball teams serve up new tournaments

Sophomore Faith Phillips is ready while Sophomore Alexa Templeton serves the ball. Photo by Emily Bakey

Organized by Head Volleyball Coach Matt MacDonald, the Bruin Varsity, Junior Varsity, and Freshman Volleyball teams are now hosting home volleyball tournaments.

“Varsity tournaments were an opportunity to do something different, something we’ve wanted to do for about twelve years,” said Coach MacDonald. “It takes a lot of commitment from other schools, but I felt like our program was at the level where we were ready for that, and a lot of people were interested in coming, so we put it on.”

Bear River’s Varsity Volleyball team did not used to have tournaments, but the Freshman Volleyball team did.

“We did have tournaments before, we had frosh tournaments,” said Coach MacDonald.

“I reached out to other teams who were interested in doing a Varsity tournament,” said Coach MacDonald. “I thought it would bring good publicity to our school and our program. We’ve never had [a tournament], and, for the last 11 years I’ve been here, I’ve wanted to do something next level.”

According to Coach MacDonald, the tournament wasn’t only for publicity and fun, it also raised money for the team.

“… The tournament was a great fundraiser, and it helped pay for more equipment and for the program for the upcoming season,” Coach MacDonald said.

Senior Callie Bickmore said that she thought the Varsity team was improving, and has a good chance of making it to playoffs this season.

“We’re doing way better than we expected, everyone’s getting way better each practice, it’s kind of crazy,” she said. “I think we’ll do really well, and I hope we make playoffs.”

Coach MacDonald said that he agreed with Bickmore.

“We are excited about the mental toughness of our group, we want to take it one game at a time and see where we end up,” said MacDonald.

The freshman volleyball players can agree that having tournaments is affecting the team positively.

“It’s very good for the players, because if we didn’t have tournaments, they would just ‘practice against other teams’ and they wouldn’t really have any official matches,” said Freshman Caitlin Parker.

“The Varsity team is heading down a positive path, and are getting stronger each time they play,” said Coach MacDonald. “I think we are really optimistic … we’re pretty young overall, but we are working hard and getting better every day.”

The freshman team is also starting out strong.

“We lost one match, but we have been on a four-win streak,” said Parker. “The last game, we played three sets. The first game, we crushed them, but the second game, we lost. We managed to win and pull through in the end.”

The Junior Varsity team is confident about the season as well.

“We have a really good record right now, we’re doing really well in our league, and we have only lost two out of eight games, so we are hoping to keep our record going and to be confident as a team,” said Freshman Maddie Albee.

The new league has brought in new opportunities for the players.

“We have lost Placer High School and Lincoln High School, but we’ve gained Marysville High School and Lindhurst High School,” said Coach MacDonald.

Some Bruins miss the competition, but are excited for some new wins.

“We gained new teams that replaced the old ones, but it’s sad to see other teams go because you gain more experience when teams are stronger, but we beat Lincoln High yesterday,” said Parker.

Maddie Albee said that she agreed with this.

“The new league is small, and I think it’s good for us,” Albee said. “I wish we had more of a challenge, but it’s still fun to play these teams.”

According to Coach MacDonald, the tournaments for the Varsity team will be continued, as well as tournaments for the Freshman and Junior Varsity teams.

The next tournament for the freshman team is scheduled on the first Saturday of October, and spirits are high.

“I’m pretty confident we can win because of how we can beat a division two team as a division five team,” said Parker. “We are pretty good.” 

“I think we have a pretty good shot at the tournament,” said Albee.

— Catherine Desplancke contributed to this report. 

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Volleyball teams serve up new tournaments