The first step into the snake pit of a schedule for Harvard-Westlake High--Royal on Tuesday, the Orange County tournament on Saturday, Bishop Montgomery next Tuesday--would have to be considered a success.
A rousing success.
Harvard-Westlake, ranked No. 2 in the region by The Times, beat top-ranked Royal, 15-9, 15-6, 17-15, in a nonleague girls' volleyball match at Harvard-Westlake.
In a match that lasted just over an hour, Harvard-Westlake had better serving, passing and attacking than the Highlanders, who won the Southern Section Division I-A championship last season.
Even though one of their sophomore Courtney Schultz was limited to five kills, perhaps the result of surgery for an ingrown toenail on Monday, the Wolverines (1-0) have reason to be optimistic.
"I'm happy," Coach Jess Quiroz of Harvard-Westlake said. "What can I say?"
Can anybody say . . . 1995?
The measuring stick for Harvard-Westlake volleyball begins and ends with the team that won the state Division III title.
It's very early to talk state championships--the Wolverines have a monumental task ahead of them against Bishop Montgomery and 6-foot-3 middle blocker Katie Olsovsky, considered one of the top players in the nation--but the defensive intensity appears to be there for the Wolverines.
"This is the best defensive team I've played with," senior setter Ashley Julian said. "It's much easier for me to be setting now than it has been."
Royal is still adjusting to life without Courtney Guerra, who is starting as a freshman at California.
The Highlanders (0-2) were prone to lapses caused chiefly by passing problems. They trailed game two by scores of 7-0 and 13-1.
"Every match we're trying to get better," said Coach Bob Ferguson of Royal, who received 10 kills from Amanda Kiser. "What we need to work on is believing we can do it. We saw glimpses of it."
Karalyn Kuchenbecker had 10 kills and Anna Nesser added eight for Harvard-Westlake.