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March 23, 2023

Happy swings: Gilroy girls volleyball team finds joy in playing again

The past year of uncertainty with high school sports has left the Gilroy High girls volleyball team excited about the upcoming season.

“Our No. 1 goal is to enjoy the sport,” Mustangs coach Brian Calimpong said. “After the last 18 months, I am just thankful to be on the court somewhere.”

Calimpong was hired in June to replace former coach Bailie Ferreyra (formerly Carpenter). He said the girls had a successful summer and are ready to see what the season has in store for them. 

“I am super encouraged with the group that I inherited,” Calimpong said. “Coach Ferreyra did a great job with these girls and really did the hard part which is just keeping them engaged. I get to do the easy part which is letting them play.”

The team had only three days between tryouts and their first preseason jamboree on Aug. 21. Even though there wasn’t much time to practice, senior Olivia Blank said she felt that the team really connected on their first day of practice and did well during the jamboree. 

“We came in and had a good energy,” Blank said. “We mostly just try to have fun, laugh and talk to each other.”

Gilroy followed up the jamboree with a nice showing against Christopher in the Central Coast Section Sportsmanship Game on Aug. 23, sweeping the Cougars in three sets. Game scores were 25-20, 26-24, 25-14.

According to Calimpong, the players have been working hard everyday at practice and putting in the effort. The team is mostly made of seniors, with a few underclassmen who have stepped up. 

“They do everything I ask and more. It’s a really great group of girls that I am impressed with so far,” he said. 

This is the last year Gilroy is competing in the Pacific Coast League Mission Division. Next season, the Mustangs along with their crosstown rivals Christopher are moving to the San Jose-based Blossom Valley League. In their last year playing in the PCAL and what was formerly the Monterey Bay League, the Mustangs are aiming for a league title, which they last won in 2018. 

“Now that we have a team that we feel is really good, we have an opportunity to go and take (the title),” said senior Camberly Johnson. 

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