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January 26, 2022

Volleyball | Lady Bruins reflect on successful season

Greenfield volleyball team makes school history as league champs

GREENFIELD — When the Greenfield High girls volleyball team returned to the gym for the first time in a year, the tone of the Lady Bruins was joyful to have a season, but little did they know they would make history.

Greenfield canceled the 2020 volleyball season due to the Covid-19 outbreak.

The girls volleyball team at Greenfield High had been underperforming for years. Before this past season, the last time the Lady Bruins had a winning record was back in 2008.

Although the Bruins program has seen some rough times, they have had some success.

According to Greenfield Head Volleyball Coach Adrian Trujillo, the Lady Bruins were co-champions of the coastal athletic league back in 2008, when they went 11-3. The expectation this year for the Lady Bruins was to be competitive and contend for a league title, not to dominate the whole season.

“Honestly, I don’t think any of us thought we would be champions,” said Greenfield volleyball player Elena Garcia. “In the beginning of the season, we knew it was a possibility, but it never really crossed our minds, until a few games into the season. We worked hard and soon understood that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. As a result of our hard work, we became champions.”

At the beginning of the season, the Lady Bruins won their first two matches but then had their longest losing streak. They dropped three of their four next matches, making some of the ladies feel like they were following in the same footsteps as other Greenfield volleyball teams.

“We need to remind ourselves that we can’t get comfortable,” said Bruins player Lupita Nuñez. “Even if we did lose, we reflected on it and thought about what we can do better. I’m glad we didn’t get stuck in the hole, and we overcame that.”

Once league play started, the Lady Bruins began to bury teams, winning their first 13 league games.

Leading the way was Nuñez, MVP of the Pacific Coast Athletic League Arroyo Division. Nuñez finished the season second in the PCAL with 337 kills.

“Lupita’s season was amazing, in my opinion, because she helped the team out as a whole,” said teammate Linda Ornelas. “Lupita improved throughout the season and began getting more and more confident in her skills.”

Although Nuñez was dominating, the players looked to Ornelas as the leader, who kept the team in line.

“Linda was the leader of the team because she guided us in everything,” Garcia said. “If anyone needed help, she never hesitated and was always there for everyone. She was always setting an example for others.”

When the ladies returned to the gym at the start of the season, Ornelas felt that some of the girls were not confident. She took it upon herself to uplift her teammates.

“It makes me feel like I led them to be successful in their own ways,” Ornelas said. “Because most of the girls were uncertain or not confident in what they were doing. So I tried my hardest to make them comfortable and confident. So they could do their best for the team.”

The Lady Bruins had their best season in school history at 17-6 and went 14-1 in league play. This record earned the Greenfield team its first outright league title in school history and a trip to the playoffs. The season ended with a loss in the first round of the playoffs.

Many of the Lady Bruins took home awards and All-League honors. Nuñez, Ornelas, Arianna Villagomez and Valerie Martinez were named to the PCAL Arroyo Division first team, while Emily Soto and Yvette Perez made the second team.

Nuñez also won Co-Most Valuable Player, Ornelas was named Defensive Player of the Year and Garcia received the Sportsmanship Award.

Coach Trujillo’s mission was never to win it all, but to build the program up. He said he wants to establish consistency within the program, and the goal was to set the “foundation” for other teams to have success, as well.

“When you look at our season, we did a lot of first times,” Trujillo said. “First outright championship, a school record in wins, the first time we have a league MVP, and first time our school makes it to the playoffs. No other class in 20-something years that Greenfield High School has been open has been put in this position.”

This year’s Lady Bruins will go down as one of the best teams in school history — not because of the win, but because of the team’s memories together and accomplishing a goal that will last forever.

“It’s crazy to see what we have accomplished,” Garcia said. “It’s amazing and in a way unbelievable. It was definitely an amazing season.”

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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