The Ocean View High girls’ volleyball team made it to the CIF Southern Section Division 8 quarterfinals last season.
Even after that deep playoff run, the Seahawks have appropriately maintained a chip on their shoulder.
That fighting spirit translates to the fan base, which made its voices heard at Marina on Wednesday evening.
Junior setter Alyson Nguyen had 23 assists and four service aces, and the Seahawks spoiled the Vikings’ season opener with a 25-23, 25-17, 21-25, 25-22 nonleague win.
“It was super interesting because a couple of those girls, we’ve played in club,” Nguyen said. “We’ve got friends on the team, and it makes it a friendly rivalry.
“It pumps you up, and honestly, everyone wants the bragging rights. It’s just a really good way to prove like, ‘Hey, we are the smaller school. We are in the lower division, but we can prove our point with the big leagues.’”
Nguyen said that she played club volleyball with libero Kelli Greiner, outside hitter Jillian Pratt and opposite Cambria Adams last year.
Among the Marina players they competed with in club were Sydney McCollough, Madison Bolt and Stephanie Nguyen.
Ocean View controlled the middle against the Vikings behind the efforts of senior Helen Reynolds (11 kills, one block) and sophomore Wendie Smith (nine kills, one block).
“It was good because I guess we were being aggressive,” Smith said. “It was just cool to beat Marina because they’re almost like our rivals. We know them.”
The Seahawks (2-1) have four key contributors from last year’s team back in the starting lineup this season. The middle-blocking tandem of Reynolds and Smith, as well as the back row duo of Nguyen and Greiner make up the quartet.
Nguyen served as a defensive specialist for the Seahawks as a sophomore, but following the graduation of Savannah Bonifay, she has become the team’s first-string setter.
Marina rallied to take the third set, thanks to strong performance in serve receive. The Vikings grew in confidence as they battled back into the match, with Brooke Earwood collecting 16 of her match-high 27 assists over the final two sets.
Helen McMullin, a converted middle blocker who lined up at outside hitter, had 15 kills to lead the Vikings. Although Marina had powerful hitters, they were sporadic at times.
“They did fight at the end there,” first-year Vikings coach Jake Nuneviller said. “We struggle with consistency. We make a ton of errors and we give up points in buckets, and that is the biggest issue that we’re facing.”
Late in the fourth set, Greiner handled a blast off the right hand of McMullin, popping up the dig so that Jillian Pratt could finish off the point with a kill to give the Seahawks match point at 24-21.
“It feels amazing,” Greiner said of the key dig. “She hits very hard. You’ve just got to focus and just calm down. I know we were really close to them.