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Kaylie Clem | The Feather Online

Despite losing to the three teams placed ahead of them, the campus junior high volleyball team won the Fresno Unified Division II Championship, Oct. 11.

Young team finds success on the court

Despite seeding in the No. 4 spot, the Fresno Christian girls junior high volleyball team won the Fresno Unified Division II Championship, defeating Wawona Middle School, two games to one (25-22, 25-27, 15-12), at Bullard High, Oct. 11.

Coach Jon Penberthy gave kudos to his JH volleyball team who overcame the odds to win the tournament.

“I am very proud of these girls,” Penberthy said. “They have worked very hard over the course of the past 8-9 weeks. They have been dedicated and ‘bought in’ to playing as a team, learning roles on how they all fit in. It showed that when they work together as a team, good things happen.”
These girls were split into two groups at the beginning of the season. Instead of having a varsity and junior varsity team as the high school girls have, they had an “A” team and a “B” team. Penberthy coached the A team, supported by his wife Kerri Penberthy who coached the B team.
Mikayla Davila, ’22, played on the A team this year. She believes the JH volleyball team winning their first league game gave the team the confidence to make it to the final championship game.
 “We were really surprised when we won our first game in league,” Davila said. “We didn’t think we were going to win, but we did. After winning the first game, we got up and told ourselves we could win more games.”
Performing under pressure was one skill that proved essential to pulling off the championship. Annabelle Counts, ’23, says Fresno Christian had a greater will to win in the championship.
“We had a few bumps in the road, but eventually we got on the freeway,” Counts said. “There were close games in the championship, but we picked it out in the third game. My favorite moment was after we won the third game because we all ran together and jumped on each other.”
Guest photographer

According to coach Jon Penberthy, the JH volleyball players are all very capable of playing high school volleyball and hopes they stick together. He believes they will be a very good high school team.

The junior high volleyball team went 6-3 in overall play and 4-3 in league play. Coach Penberthy believes the team will find success in high school if they continue to develop their skills.
“I think they are all very capable of playing high school volleyball,” Penberthy said. “I hope they stick together. If they stay together as a group, they will be a very good high school team.”
Penberthy believes learning the basics of volleyball early in the year came back to help them finish best in the league, and gave the girls a head start for high school.
“I knew this was a team that could compete for the championship,” Penberthy said. “We always stressed playing correctly by trying to get a pass, set, hit and spike, while other teams didn’t seem to stress that as much. We wanted to make sure that our girls would be prepared for high school volleyball.”
Penberthy would like to thank the parents who came to support and Darbee Whipple. He believes they had a huge part in the success of the team. He would also like to thank B team coach Kerri Penberthy for her help in developing girls to be able to compete on the A team for next season.
The junior high girls also found success last year by winning the Fresno Unified Division III softball championship. For more articles, read: COLUMN: Freshmen writer shares perspective on journalism.
This author, Bryce Foshee, can be reached via email and/or Twitter.
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