Labor Day weekend gives families the choice to do almost anything. They can travel, stay home, go to the beach; living in Sonoma County gives residents ample things to choose from. In the case of the Rancho Cotate Cougars volleyball team, they once again hosted the NorCal Volleyball Tournament.
Head Coach Jeff Bradshaw and his staff oversaw a tournament which consisted of 16 teams from across Northern California. All 16 teams congregated to Rohnert Park to play in this all-day tournament. The Cougars had a solid weekend, going 3-2. They had wins against Eureka, Woodlake, and Montgomery, losing to Enoch of Modesto and Albany High School. This weekend was a net positive for Rancho as they improved to 4-7 on the year. The girls came into the weekend at 1-5, so this was an improvement for Coach Bradshaw.
For those who have never been to this tournament, it’s a very cool experience. Think about it like any other sporting event, with multiple games going on at once in multiple gyms. According to Bradshaw there were 12 teams playing at once. Rancho Cotate has two gyms able to be broken up into thirds. So that allowed 12 teams to play simultaneously, while 6 teams sat out and waited.
“It’s a regular tournament,” Bradshaw said. “Sixteen teams from across Northern California are all here competing. There’s three games in this main gym and three games across campus.”
Tournaments like these are always good indications of how your team is doing at this point in the season. The only difference between Saturday and actual league games is the number of sets. High school volleyball is 5 sets, so it’s best of 5. However, in the case of tournaments, it’s best of 3, so only winning two sets. Everything else remains the same.
The Cougars started off 1-5 but showed signs of getting better and maybe turning the corner towards better results. Last years’ team, in the Covid shortened season, started off a little slow as well, then picked it up towards the end. For a young team with only two seniors, this tournament and season could serve as a way to get the program ready for the next two years.
The Cougars have four more games until league play begins September 21 against Piner High School. Up next is a rematch against Montgomery High School, whom the Cougars defeated 2-0 on Saturday.