Gilchrist — On Wednesday, the Gilchrist Grizzlies hosted a three-way volleyball meet with the Central Christian Tigers and Rogue Valley Adventist Red Tail Hawks, three teams all in the 1A Mountain Valley League. Entering the day, Gilchrist had only played one match so far in 2022, while Central Christian and Rogue Valley Adventist both had a good number of games played to this point of the season.
In the three-way meet, the Red Tail Hawks kept their perfect record intact at 7-0 overall with sweep victories over Central Christian and Gilchrist. The Tigers split with a loss to Rogue Valley Adventist and a sweep win over the Grizzlies, improving to 12-3 on the season. Gilchrist fell to 0-3 with their dual losses on Wednesday. Although every match was a sweep, it was opportunity to observe and learn about all three teams, so here is the final report complete with team observations and athlete shoutouts:
Rogue Valley Adventist Red Tail Hawks
They won the meet and were clearly the best team in Gilchrist on Wednesday. I liked what I saw from them, very nice rotation and communication offensively. Hitting was a strength, but their ability to control the net and back row was their biggest strength. They seized the momentum and never let up on Central Christian, although they did get lazy against Gilchrist. Lots of height and solid fundamentals will serve them well down the stretch against tougher 1A competition. My only downgrade was their serving, which was wildly inconsistent and streaky, so it could become a liability if they don’t get it ironed out.
Rogue Valley’s Most Notable Athletes
Emma Bischoff – Emma is the anchor of this team inside and out. Her size makes her trouble by itself, but her ability to execute and take advantage of it makes her indispensable as an all-around threat. Oh yeah, she has a thunderous kill shot as well, it’s complete dynamite and very intimidating.
Destinee Quattrocelli – You can’t have a good team without a good setter, and Destinee is exactly that for Rogue Valley Adventist. Her ball placement is on point, she is vocal in calling for it, and she evens throws a bit of flavor in with some dump off plays.
Michaela Porter – Michaela stands out as a reliable two-way athlete that can make plays on both sides of the ball. When Emma isn’t throwing it down, Michaela doubles down as a secondary threat that opponents have to account for. I also have an appreciation for her ball tracking at the net, making herself aware of a time when she has to protect it and make a play.
Stephani Castro – Stephani is an honorable mention not for anything on the floor, but for her personal traits. The entire time she stayed upbeat with the team, spreading around an infectious good vibe and a smile that lit up the atmosphere on the floor. We need more athletes like Stephani playing for every program in the state!
Central Christian Tigers
I had higher expectations for the Tigers entering the meet, given that they entered with an 11-2 record and only have losses to undefeated Open Door Christian and rising Prairie City. After observing them on Wednesday, it is clear that they aren’t at a state contender level, but they are a respectable program nevertheless. When they entered into a rut, they found themselves spinning the wheels and unable to get into rhythm. In a way, I think they beat themselves more than Rogue Valley actually defeated them, which speaks volume to what they can possibly achieve. They do get props for putting things together and not letting up against Gilchrist, although much work remains to be done if Central Christian truly wants to be part of the 1A contender group this season.
Central Christian’s Most Notable Athletes
Paige Mills – Every volleyball program wishes they had a core piece like Paige on the floor, a two-way threat that uses her athleticism to control the net. At around 5’10”, she has a vertical that compliments her height, and it has turned her into a special, indispensable piece of this Tigers program.
Bryanna Schaefer – I have an appreciation for the setter position: It is the most underrated, yet possibly the most important position. Bryanna is an excellent setter for Central Christian, not missing a beat and always heat seeking the ball to setup her teammates. Her passes were crisp and excellent, she hustles around the floor, and even knows how to drop some dimes on an opposing defense.
Ceyda Schotborg – Ceyda caught my eye down the stretch of the meet, as she threw down a few kills against Gilchrist. I liked the way she used her agility to fly in and make plays on the outside, it is typically a trait that is seen in a back row play, as the outside is usually already setup and concrete. Only a sophomore, I’m excited to see how she develops for the Tigers.
Head Coach Allie Tibbits has had quite a few years inside the Gilchrist program, and now that she is the sole one running the show, she has the task of bringing the Grizzlies back to a more prominent place. This program is in the stage of building themselves up and finding their footing, which means that they will have more struggles before successes become a regular occurrence. Gilchrist knows the work that they have cut out for them, it isn’t something that I need to preach about here.
Gilchrist’s Most Notable Athletes
Audrey Newton – As a captain, Audrey serves as not only a team leader, but as a floor general for the Grizzlies. She will be the one on the front lines and battling at the net for Gilchrist, something that she showed flashes of on Wednesday when she had the opportunity to do so.
Cassidy Newton – I noted Cassidy on a couple very nice blocks that she threw up and executed on for the Grizzlies. It might not seem like much, but it’s those small moments of flash that will help build the confidence of these girls and the program as they go through the schedule.
The Entire Team – Big time props to everyone who made a hustle play, gave every play their best effort, and kept trying even when things were bleak or hard to work through. You may not be able to fix everything, but your attitude as an individual can spread and help out everyone in the long-term. Keep at it Gilchrist, brighter days are ahead for this program!