Tuesday marks a full slate of high school volleyball matches for local Kern County programs embarking on the 2018 season.
Thirteen contests featuring local teams dot the schedule with eight taking place in Bakersfield: Kern Valley at Foothill, Arvin at North, Taft at East, Arroyo Grande at Frontier, South at Independence, Highland at Shafter, Mira Monte at West and Valencia-Hart at Stockdale.
Stockdale head coach Maria Collatz said the start of the new season came quickly with the high school sports calendar moved up a week for the 2018-19 academic year.
Even so, she said the recent all-school scrimmages held at North and East high schools — which featured programs from throughout Kern County — gave teams a chance to gauge where they are entering the new year.
“I’m always excited to start a season,” Collatz said. “Every year is different, you have different personnel. It’s always fun taking on the challenge.”
Ashley Wires enters her second season as head coach at Bakersfield High. Wires said the Drillers return the majority of their roster from a season ago and have good chemistry entering the 2018 campaign.
“They already know my coaching style. They’re used to me, the way things are ran and they’re very receptive,” she said. “The girls are excited. One match at a time, building a relationship with each other. That’s the main thing. We’re excited to see where this year can go.”
South at Independence features two first-year coaches taking the helm — Edithza Urias for the Falcons and Toni Alvarez with the Rebels.
Urias was named head coach in late July and is looking forward to improving the Falcons 12-21 record from a season ago.
“I took on the challenge,” she said. “I’m excited to see what we can make out of this program this year. We want to start the season with a winning mentality. What’s in the past is in the past. We don’t want to dwell.”