With COVID testing required for participation in indoor education-based athletics, local high school volleyball players have found themselves unable to represent their schools, yet one group of like-minded coaches, parents, and community members refused to take no for an answer and found a way to get players back on the court through the Arbuckle Volleyball Club.
As a result, nine girls hailing from Pierce, Colusa, and Maxwell high schools, have banded together under the direction of Kim Travis, who is both the director and coach for AVBC, to form an 18s team that has created some optimism in a sports year that has otherwise been a relative disappointment.
Playing in accordance with strict guidelines that require all participants to wear properly fitting masks and limits each player to just one parent in attendance, the team is currently competing in the Yuba City and Rancho Cordova areas where it has faced strong competition from the likes of Chico, El Dorado Hills, and Palo Cedro clubs.
The roster, which is comprised of seven seniors and two juniors, includes Pierce’s Betsy Myers, Sierra Murphy, Katie Williams, Maria Rivera, Ashlyn Woolridge, and Jaylianna Valencia along with Colusa’s Reese Roper and Emily Pingrey, and Maxwell’s Laynee Haywood.
It’s a group that Travis says is not only fun, but also one that “works hard every minute they are on the court,” and the combination as been effective as the team finished first and second respectively in tournaments held on February 14 and March 7.
While being able to coach again was exciting for Travis, who specifically acknowledged the contributions from Canal Farms and the Dennis Family which made the endeavor possible, the players couldn’t be more grateful for the chance to get back on the court and compete.
Myers, one of the seniors on the team, expressed such sentiment by saying, “I can’t put into words how thankful I am for everyone that made this team possible. With my junior season cut short due to injury, and my senior season still up in the air, it means the world to be back doing what I love the most, which is playing volleyball. This team has already provided me with bonds and memories that I know I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
A fellow senior, Haywood also shared the positive impact the experience has created by replying, “I’ve loved every second of playing for Arbuckle Volleyball Club. It’s been super fun playing with such a competitive group. This is no doubt the best way to end my volleyball career.”
While it does now appear that at least Pierce may have the opportunity to play in approximately a half dozen high school matches, the AVBC is scheduled to participate in tournaments in Utah and Las Vegas before the season concludes.
Still, no matter the result, the resiliency shown by the athletes and determination of Travis as well as all others involved is simply indicative of Colusa County’s enduring spirit.