The Redlands East Valley volleyball team used some frequent flyer miles this summer to get their team ready for its quest for a fourth straight CIF championship, participating in a tournament in Hawaii to go along with various tournaments in Southern California.
The Wildcats flew out to the islands for a week, taking in the sights and enjoying the life as a tourist. They also honed their game, winning the tournament to cap off an ideal summer vacation and set the tone for another title defense.
“We got to bond as a team, win a tournament and got to go to the beach every day,” junior middle blocker Alyssa Mason said. “It doesn’t get much better than that.”
It was quite the wait, but the Redlands East Valley girls volleyball team finally began the defense of its CIF-SS Division II-AA crown Monday, sweeping Redlands 25-10, 25-6, 25-21 in its season opener.
After a seemingly endless amount of intrasquad practices, the Wildcats — which graduated seven players from their CIF championship and state finalist team — were relieved to finally get things going against another team.
“It’s been a long wait, a lot of practicing,” REV coach Tricia Vansant said. “It gets repetitive practicing against your teammates. You get antsy and you want to play against someone else.”
While it took a while for REV’s season to get started, it won’t take long for it to get into high gear. The Wildcats play in the Durango Tournament in Las Vegas this weekend and the Capistrano Tournament in Orange County the weekend after.
Both should be sizable tests for the Wildcats, who are looking to fill their lineup around senior setter Johnna Fouch — who committed to San Diego State late last week — junior outside hitter Krista Vansant and senior libero Kyle Oropeza. 6-foot-2 sophomore Alyssa Mason also saw a good bit of time last year, but injury and illness have her taking it slow in the early going of the season.
The 48-team Durango Tournament features teams throughout the Western United States while the Capistrano Tournament will involve the elite teams in Orange County and Southern California.
“We are going to see a higher level of volleyball and get a good idea of where we stand and what we need to work on,” Vansant said. “I want our girls to be tested, to be challenged, to see how they react to other teams pushing them.”