After winning eight straight Marmonte League titles, the Royal High girls volleyball team entered this season ranked No. 1 in the Southern Section 2-A poll.
Midway through the season, the Highlanders will be satisfied with qualifying for the playoffs. Royal is in fifth place with a 4-4 league record, and playoff berths are guaranteed to only the top three teams.
"It was not shocking, I saw it coming," Royal Coach Bob Ferguson said. "I saw the talent in the league. Unless you are on every night, you're going to have a rough time. We haven't played real well. If you lose a couple of games, you start to think 'What am I doing wrong?' I think the kids lost a little confidence in themselves--in fact, I know they did."
One of Ferguson's tactics was to change the starting line-up. That didn't work.
He put the original line-up back in place last weekend, and the Highlanders responded with an encouraging fourth-place finish at the Diamond Bar tournament.