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Photo by Lauren Wassam

Girls Varsity volleyball team starts the 2016 season

Bearcats girls’ varsity volleyball has kicked off the new season with an overall record of 12-4. Placed 6th in PAC -8 CIF, the team anticipates a successful season and a ranking at top two in league, even with a transition into a different style of play by new head coach Doug Harbottle.

Kalyn Armstrong

Harbottle has been coaching volleyball, both men and women’s since 1977, but this is his first year coaching at PRHS. He got the job as head coach late into the summer, and has since then come up with objectives for the team and strategies for the season.

“I found out they [Varsity team] were in need of a coach, and I wanted to make sure they ended up with someone experienced. Part of the reason I applied was because I knew the girls needed a coach who was willing to put in the work for them,” Harbottle said.

The job opening was result of the passing of respected and beloved varsity coach, DJ Bigelow. Bigelow was the head Varsity coach for several years and passed away last October from cancer. Although saying goodbye to coach Bigelow was mournful, the team’s success this season dedicates a remembrance to his life.

“It’s definitely different having someone else besides DJ coaching us, even though Doug has coached the majority of us in club. It’s strange, without DJ,” said senior Kalyn Armstrong, middle blocker and middle hitter.

Harbottle intends on the relationships between himself and the team and the teammates themselves to stay strong.

“I care about them; they’re a very smart, driven, and overall a great group of girls,”Harbottle said.

Harbottle agreed alongside his captains that the team all knows one and other well and are very supportive of each other. He said the relationships between the upperclassmen and the underclassmen is growing to ensure the team isn’t a “one-hit-wonder” with just one good season.

Tegan Curren

“We want to have several years worth of good seasons and good volleyball players, after this season,” said Harbottle.

Preparing the Freshman and JV teams for later years is a goal agreed on by both the Varsity girls and their coach.

The nine seniors are readily shaping up the three juniors and two sophomores on varsity in order to “stay a great team,” senior captain Tegan Curren said.

“This year is really looking to be just as good as last season. We had an awesome team and bond last year. I can’t wait to see how we progress this season,” said senior captain Kiara Gable, who has played on varsity since her freshman year.

Girls on the team including seniors Gabby Morrison, Coleen Wiest and Gable have been playing together for years; through middle school, NCVC (North County Volleyball Club), and Mid Coast Volleyball Club. Harbottle has coached a majority of the team through Mid Coast.

Harbottle plans on the girls working hard academically and physically throughout the season and the remainder of the school year.

“I say I want the team to get their objectives in order, which allows them to reflect on themselves and really see what needs to be done to reach their goals,” Harbottle said.

Kiara Gable

The Bearcats are ready to put in the hard work needed to reach the goals of making top two

in league and qualifying for CIF, Armstrong and Curren said.

Throughout the season, the Varsity girls intend on being the best Bearcats they can be, whether it be on the court, in the classroom, or outside of either. And as they know each other well, the intensity of their ambitions parallels the strength in their relationships.

“We all know each other a little too well,” Armstrong laughed, “but I think it’s good we have strong relationships with one another. We really help each other out, and we’re always there for each other.”

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