Italy — Monday night began with another spirited inter-squad scrimmage between two groups of Italy’s volleyball girls with visiting Avalon Junior High’s Lady Eagles not having a third squad available. The good news is, an Italy team won! The even better news is how well Italy’s youngest volleyball players are adapting to the game and adjusting to being in front of the Italy Coliseum crowds.
Italy’s Karson Holley, Rori Russell, Virginia Stephens, Paige Cunningham, Jill Varner, Karla Perez, Noeli Garcia, Keondra Jackson, Reagan Jones, Lorena Rodriguez, Emily Guzman are all proving to be fast learners within the scope of Italy High School’s head volleyball coach Morgan Mathews who also received coaching assistance on Monday from Tina Richards and Holly Bradley.
The second face-to-net-to-face matchup was between Italy’s B-squad and the Lady Eagles with Avalon striking a mighty blow to Italy’s ego with a first set win, 25-14.
Italy’s B-squad responded in a fury and dismantled Avalon’s defense feather by feather behind the savvy play of Cassidy Gage, Tatum Adams, Juliette Salazar, Jada Jackson, and Karley Nelson patrolling the middle. Protecting Italy’s backcourt were Hannah Haight, Taylor Boyd, Madison Galvan, Reagan Jones and Jayden Perkins.
Italy’s B-squad was triumphant in the second set 25-5 to split the two sets with Avalon, perhaps making a bit of a statement to the rest of the district thanks to their overwhelming margin of success.
Avalon’s A-squad began flocking onto the court and stunned the white and black clad Lady Gladiators in the first set, 25-17. Italy’s Kirby Nelson remains sidelined with an injury but offers plenty of team spirit and an encouraging smile to every group huddle. With support like that, Italy responded in the second set to win 25-5 with floor general Brycelen Richards and blockers Annie Perry, Emmy Cunningham, Jenna Holden and Sydney Weeks controlling things near the net while Rachel Huskins, Kirsten Viator and Marlen Hernandez did a solid job backing things up.
After trailing in the third set, a confident Richards served Italy back into the match and then passed Avalon for the lead, 13-12. Moments later, Holden stepped back to serve up confusion for Avalon’s defense and held serve to make the score 23-14. With the set 24-16 in Italy’s favor, Cunningham punctuated Italy’s 2 set to 1 win over Avalon with a non returnable serve.
Italy’s Updated Junior High Volleyball Roster: