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Girls Volleyball Wins with Pride!
Gabriella Zaragoza

By GREGORY MORELAND-TUHN

The Salesian Pride volleyball team plays with tons of joy out on the court and have created an incredible culture this season. On Monday night, they had a cancer awareness night as they hosted the Pinole Valley Spartans. A hot start and a hot finish was more than enough for the Pride to take a 3-1 set victory and improve their record to 18-8 overall and league record to 11-1 in 2023. 

This Salesian team has a joy to the game that is infectious and is being carried onto the court and translating into wins. Head coach Michaela Ahlenslager talked about where that has come from, “We had a little bit of a slow start this season and we had to find our why. I think that once they figured that out and realized, ‘I want to play for my sister on the court, I love volleyball,’ that’s when they decided we’re gonna get this done.”

It was a hot start for Salesian as they came out firing on all cylinders to try and win that first set that is always super important. When you win the first set you are now forcing the opponent to win three of the next four sets which is incredibly challenging. Ava Santos would talk about how important it was to get off to a fast start, “It’s always good to get off on a fast note because that’s what basically sets the mood for the game.”  Ahlenslager repeated the same sentiment, “We have been preaching it all week”. 

After winning the first set, 25-17, Salesian had to work really hard to make a little comeback in Set 2. Pinole Valley would start the second set with five straight points to put some pressure onto the Salesian team. The Spartans were able to maintain that lead through the first 20 or so points, but Olivia Tinio would go on an incredible run of serves to go from trailing by a few to lead 15-12. 

Jisselle Rodriguez was also a dominant force in that second set but the main thing Salesian was doing over the first two sets was not creating unforced errors. The limiting of mistakes put pressure on Pinole Valley to be perfect. 

Pinole Valley was indeed perfect in the third set as they were getting contributions from everyone on the court. The Spartans battled incredibly hard as they had just eight players suited up for Monday’s game. Jasmine Sommer had some big moments, but the best player on the court in the third set was Allison Ip. Ip had many kills from the deep middle and helped the Spartans win set 3 on a Ella Bahena kill. 

With it now a 2-1 Salesian advantage, Salesian did not want to play a winner take all fifth set and they came out and played much better in set four. 

Ahlenslager gave insight on what the message was heading into the fourth set, “The message is always that no team is going to hand you a dub. You have to go out there and get, you have to fight for it, you have to work hard for it, you have to stay tight, you have to really work for it because no one is just gonna hand it to you.” 

Salesian would indeed work for it as they dominated the fourth set much like set 1. It was a great performance and senior leader Ava Santos was right in the middle of it. There were countless great performances by Salesian, however, as the 18th win of the season was truly a team effort. 

There is just one regular season game left for Salesian however as they have their senior night in their next game when they welcome in John Swett on Wednesday. They will be in search of their 19th overall win heading into the postseason and fourth win in a row. 

  • Girls Volleyball

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One of the vans from Salesian's transportation program in front of the school

Did you know?

Salesian is committed in the well-being of our students by providing a safe shuttle transportation service for the upcoming school year. To meet the needs of our commuting and working families, Salesian offers round-trip transporatation to students from:

  • Vallejo-Fairfield-Martinez-Hercules-Pinole areas
  • Berkeley-El Cerrito BART route
  • Pittsburg-North Concord BART Route