It has been an unconventional couple of days for the Christopher High girls varsity volleyball team.
On Tuesday, Tom Schatz stepped down as head coach. Then, Wednesday, the Cougars took the court under the guidance of interim head coach Brian Calimpong and ran into a buzzsaw in Anzar High School, losing in straight sets.
Schatz said Thursday that it was a matter of a difference of opinions and coaching styles that played a role in his departure.
“It just wasn’t working out there,” he said. “I wish the kids the best of luck. It is a really talented team.”
The Cougars, who finished 18-12 overall and 7-5 in league last season, are expected to compete for a league title in the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division this season.
“These things are better worked out before or after a season,” Schatz said. “But sometimes it’s better to take care of it sooner rather than later.”
So as CHS tried to regroup Wednesday at Anzar, the Hawks kept its early season rise going and trumped the Cougars 25-20, 25-9, 25-15.
“I saw a lot of heart,” said Calimpong, who served as an interim head coach at Gilroy High last year and is a longtime club coach in the area. “We came out really solid. The girls started fired up. Near the end, there wasn’t much I could do to change it.”
The Hawks have yet to drop a set this season as they improve to 3-0.
“It’s a great start,” first year coach Chloe Goldman. “It just goes to show how good these girls are. I think it is sending a message. It’s really hard to just come in and beat people like that. The girls are just really playing well and everything is just connecting.”
The first set was a back-and-forth battle. Christopher started strong and took an early lead, but Anzar quickly gained control of the contest. Behind Monica Medina, who finished with two kills, 22 assists and 11 digs, Anzar controlled each serve.
Four Hawks, led by Raleigh McKinney’s three aces, finished with at least two aces.
“When you do that you’re not going to lose,” Goldman said. “If we keep serving them tough they can’t run their offense. We just practice so much. I try to put every scenario that could happen. I just think the way we run our offense is why we have started so well.”
That was never more evident than the second-set when Anzar recorded five aces to run away with a 25-9 victory.
“We are playing as a team,” Goldman said. “The system I am running, they fit perfectly in it. That’s why we are doing so well. The things we do in practice are so evident during matches.”
In the final set, Anzar, again, controlled the tempo in a 25-15 victory.
Despite the loss, the match was a good barometer for the growing Christopher squad.
“These girls were taught really well,” Calimpong said. “They are pretty disciplined. I’m really proud of the girls.”
In the loss, Emily Doughty and Cheyanne DeLaMerced, each finished with five kills to lead the Cougars. Michelle Toves recorded 11 digs and Alex Gerberick finished with 15 assists.
Anzar’s McKinney finished with a game-high six kills. Josie Lee finished with five kills in the Hawk victory.
Christopher hosted St. Francis on Thursday and will travel to Gonzales at 6:30 p.m. on Friday.
Anzar will compete in the Watsonville tournament on Saturday.