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Morgan Hill
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November 29, 2022

Gavilan Growing Pains

With her team down several points about halfway through the
third game, Gavilan women
’s volleyball head coach Stephanie Pascucci encouraged her girls
to take things “one point at a time.” The phrase pretty much fits
how the team is addressing its season as a whole.
With her team down several points about halfway through the third game, Gavilan women’s volleyball head coach Stephanie Pascucci encouraged her girls to take things “one point at a time.”

The phrase pretty much fits how the team is addressing its season as a whole.

In their second home match of the season last week, the Rams fell in three straight games to Diablo Valley College, 30-23, 30-10, 30-19.

But for a new program with a relatively inexperienced roster – three players had never played competitive volleyball before – the wins aren’t really the focus.

“My goals for the team are for them to improve as individuals and as a team every time they step on the floor,” Pascucci said.

Now about a month into the season, those improvements are starting to show.

“Oh, wow…Our passing and hitting is so much better,” said freshman Malie Ka’anapu, the team’s setter, who had 19 assists against Diablo Valley. “We put up a pretty good fight. The teams that have had programs for years on end, we’re surprising them.”

Moments of that type of play shined through in the first game, when Gilroy was down double-digits but came back before eventually losing by seven. But no matter the score, the team’s attitude appeared optimistic.

“After every possession, it’s ‘We’ll get the next one,’” said sophomore middle Sharleen Rojas, a 2004 Gilroy High graduate who led the team with five kills. “If we don’t talk, it brings our spirits down.”

Ka’anapu, the team’s most experienced player, plays the pivotal position of setter, enabling the team set up an offense more effectively.

“We’re very fortunate to have Malie in the toughest spot,” Pascucci said.

Wednesday’s loss brings Gavilan’s total losses to 10. But its sole win was at the program’s first home game. Some of Gavilan’s other athletic teams were there to cheer them on. Many were in the gym again for the Diablo Valley game supporting the newest Rams.

“The vibe here (for the first game) was awesome,” Ka’anapu said. “We’ve gotten a lot of support from especially the football and basketball teams. They’re so nice to us.”

The Diablo Valley match wraps up Gavilan’s preseason games. On Friday, the Rams travel to powerhouse Cabrillo College to open Coast Conference play.

But win or lose the rest of the way, many of the players are just happy they’re getting the opportunity to play at the college level.

“I was excited when I found out (Gavilan) would have a team. I would have played my first (freshman) year if there was one,” Rojas said. “I’m happy to be part of the team, even if we lose.”

Ana Patejdl
A staff member edited this provided article.

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