The volleyball teams in particular wasted no time starting to pick out the best players at tryouts this week.
“We definitely have some hitters and blockers,” West High coach Pete Mullen said. “The next thing is to make sure we can pass, make sure we can serve and make sure our setters can get the ball to our hitters.”
He noted that while the varsity team has a good core of returning players, West’s volleyball team has fewer girls overall trying to play this year.
“We used to get 30 or 40 girls try out for freshmen, and we’ve had maybe 14,” he said, acknowledging that Kimball High’s inaugural team drew players who otherwise would have attended West.
Mullen had 23 players compete for spots on his varsity squad and expects that he will narrow that down to 12 or 13 by Saturday’s scrimmage at Downey High in Modesto. The team then travels to Los Banos High on Aug. 27 for its first pre-league game.
Mahina Tankersley, who steps up as head coach of the Tracy varsity team after six years as an assistant coach, said she had 13 varsity players at the beginning of the week and she expects to see some players shift between the varsity and sophomore squads.
Tracy has its first scrimmage Saturday at the Redding Officials Tournament, another against Heritage High of Brentwood on Tuesday and its first pre-league game at Sierra High in Manteca on Aug. 27.
Tankersley said the Redding tournament, including six to eight matches, compensates for having only a couple days for the girls to practice as a team.
“It’s an entire day of playing, so it’s a great experience for them to work their kinks out and work on their chemistry,” she said. “It doesn’t count toward anything. It’s just game experience.”
The teams at Kimball and Millennium High schools have a little more time to sort out their rosters before the pre-league season begins.
Bess Haldi, the Millennium team’s coach, said the squad is still growing as it begins its third year in the Harvest Christian League. With 32 girls signed up at the start of the week, she expects to field teams of 15 players on the varsity and junior varsity levels, with her son, Jacob Haldi, coaching the JV team.
“What I’m pleased about is the interest level to keep the girls sports going,” she said. “The window of four years (in high school) is small, but they should play every sport they can if they can balance their schedules and academics. This is an indication that the girls realize that.”
The Falcons scrimmage against Mountain Oaks High of San Andreas on Monday and begin pre-league play Sept. 1 at Dixon High.
Kimball High also has seen a big turnout for its first year. Freshman coach Gerianne McGee said that 25 first-year girls showed up for tryouts Tuesday, and 13 sophomores came out for the second-year team. That, too, is more players than the teams can keep.
Kimball’s coaches got an introduction to some of their players during summer sessions, so by Monday rosters should be ready.
Kimball’s first games will be pre-league contests on Sept. 5 at the Rosemont Tournament in Sacramento for the freshmen, and Sept. 9 at the Big Valley Tournament in Modesto for the sophomores.