Is anybody safe at Harvard-Westklake High?
With three starters and even their coach sidelined by injuries, the Wolverines were more than short-staffed for their nonleague girls' volleyball match Thursday against Royal.
The Highlanders were hardly sympathetic, posting a 15-5, 11-15, 8-15, 15-8, 15-9 victory at Harvard-Westlake.
Middle blocker Sherisa Livingston had 18 kills and seven blocks for Royal (1-0), which beat the two-time sectional champs for the first time in four years.
"Last year, I was real intimidated with all their tradition," said Livingston, who is attracting attention from several top colleges. "We just decided as a team, we weren't going to leave here without a win."
They almost did, despite Harvard-Westlake's barren nature. Royal had to rally from a 2-1 deficit in games.
Livingston had three blocks in the fourth game and Courtney Guerra delivered five of her 15 kills in the fifth as the Highlanders jumped out to a 7-1 lead.
The Wolverines (0-1) will have to get better quickly on and off the court to live up to preseason expectations.
If the season-ending injury to setter Jamie Beller (torn ligaments in left knee) on Monday wasn't enough, starting swing hitter Anne Jakle went down with a twisted left ankle in practice on Tuesday.
Jakle, an All-Southern Section selection last season as a sophomore, injured herself during serving drills, coming down on a ball while jump serving. She is expected back for next Thursday's match against Marymount.
In addition, Kelly Ayers, a starting opposite hitter, could not play because of a sprained right ankle.
"I'm losing everything out here," said Harvard-Westlake Coach Jess Quiroz, who suffered a sore back after he was involved in a four-car accident Tuesday.
Michelle Wong had 14 kills and Carissa Abbott added 11 for the Wolverines.
"When you lose a player during warmups, people say to shake it off, but you can't," Wong said. "At least, I can't."
Guerra had 15 kills for Royal.