Ea­gles, Tigers per­form above the net

Imperial Valley Press - - FRONT PAGE - BY VICNENT OSUNA Staff Writer

EL CENTRO — After re­al­iz­ing many lo­cal high school fresh­men and ju­nior var­sity vol­ley­ball pro­grams were not of­ten given the op­por­tu­nity to travel for tour­na­ments, South­west High School’s var­sity head coach Lisa Hin­shaw took ac­tion.

Hin­shaw worked with the school’s ath­letic di­rec­tor eight years ago to cre­ate a lo­cal tour­na­ment for Im­pe­rial Val­ley JV teams to par­tic­i­pate in. A sim­i­lar tour­na­ment was also cre­ated for the fresh­men level.

On Fri­day and Satur­day, eight lo­cal teams were able to par­tic­i­pate in the eighth an­nual South­west JV two-day tour­na­ment, which Hin­shaw con­sid­ers es­sen­tial for the rest of the sea­son.

“It comes at a very cru­cial time be­cause some of them have had one or two league games and they haven’t seen each other what­so­ever, so this is a good way for them to mea­sure up the com­pe­ti­tion and see what other lo­cal pro­grams bring to the ta­ble,” said the South­west head coach on the im­por­tance of the tour­na­ment. “It’s all to make the pro­grams of the Im­pe­rial Val­ley bet­ter.”

The tour­na­ment, which is held at South­west High, di­vides the eight teams into a gold and pur­ple di­vi­sion, with South­west High, Braw­ley High, Central High and Holtville High mak­ing up the gold and Cali­pa­tria High, Calex­ico High, Im­pe­rial High and Palo Verde com­pet­ing in the pur­ple.

On Satur­day, the cham­pi­onship games for each di­vi­sion were held.

Braw­ley Union and South­west faced for the gold di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship, after Braw­ley Union beat Central Union in a close three sets, 25-23, 26-24 and 15-13, and South­west beat Holtville in two sets, 25-9 and 25-16.

In the gold cham­pi­onship game, the Wild­cats came out strong against the Ea­gles, win­ning the first set 25-20.

South­west High’s Skye Ri­vas ex­plained her team did not al­low their bad start to af­fect them, and she and her team­mates came back strong in the next two sets, 25-19 and 15-10, to win the game.

“We just got the en­ergy flow­ing and played as a team,” said Ri­vas, a sopho­more, on how she and her team­mates mo­ti­vated them­selves to get back on top.

“We had a lit­tle bit of a late start, but the girls came through,” said South­west High’s head coach Paola Her­nan­dez, who was glad to see suc­cess in her first year at helm of the JV team, as she coached the school’s fresh­men pro­gram for three years prior.

Though Her­nan­dez’s time lead­ing South­west’s JV team is new, the Ea­gles’ dom­i­nance in the tour­na­ment is not as South­west’s JV squad has taken the tro­phy for the past three years.

Keep­ing the school’s three-year streak go­ing was the main goal be­fore even step­ping on the court, agreed Ri­vas and her team­mates Madi­son Mills, Krys­tal Al­varez and Cas­san­dra Her­nan­dez.

South­west’s head coach was con­fi­dent Ri­vas, Mills, Al­varez and Her­nan­dez would help lead the team to an­other tro­phy.

For the pur­ple di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship, Im­pe­rial High faced Cali­pa­tria High, after Im­pe­rial beat Calex­ico in two sets, 25-12, 2521, and Cali­pa­tria High beat Palo Verde in two sets, 25-19, 25-21.

While the Tigers pre­sented a strong per­for­mance in the first set, win­ning 25-17, the Hor­nets an­swered back in a sim­i­lar fash­ion, 25-17, to win the sec­ond game.

In the third game, Im­pe­rial strug­gled to find their grove on of­fense, of­ten fall­ing be­hind Cali­pa­tria. It wasn’t un­til the Tigers came back with a score of 10-9 mid­way through the game that a tro­phy was in their grasps.

“We’re all one big fam­ily and we just brought each other up,” de­scribed Im­pe­rial High’s Jade Caro on how her team mo­ti­vated them­selves to get back on the score­board.

“I just told them they’ve got to dig deeper and find it within them­selves to pick each other up and want the game more than the other team. I just think they fi­nally fig­ured it out and they thought, ‘we have to push and win,’” said Im­pe­rial High’s head coach Maryann Jarvis.

Im­pe­rial then went on a five unan­swered point streak to end the third game, 15-10, and win the pur­ple di­vi­sion tro­phy.

“We could’ve played a lit­tle bet­ter, but we poured our hearts out,” said Jade, a sopho­more, who was co-cap­tain for the team along with her team­mate Han­nah Car­tee.

De­spite a few mis­takes on the court, the Im­pe­rial High head coach was proud of her team’s win­ning per­for­mance.

“I hope this taught the girls that we can ob­vi­ously do well enough, and we should just use this to push our­selves the rest of the sea­son. We’ve seen ev­ery­body and we see what they’re ca­pa­ble of, so we’re just go­ing to work harder to be able to meet that level of play and sur­pass their level of play,” stated Jarvis.

Cali­pa­tria High’s Anelise Amezcua at­tempts to hit the ball back over the net dur­ing their game against Im­pe­rial High in the an­nual South­west JV tour­na­ment held at South­west High in El Centro on Satur­day af­ter­noon. Im­pe­rial beat Cali­pa­tria in the pur­ple di­vi­sion cham­pi­onship game. VIN­CENT OSUNA PHOTO

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