by Bradey King
The 16’s Redwood City, CA-based Red Rock Volleyball Club faced a local Club V roster in what was both teams’ final match of Day 1 at the Triple Crown Volleyball NIT in Salt Lake City, UT. After an exciting back and forth battle, Red Rock came out on top and earned their second win of the day.
In Game 1, there was no hesitation to attack from either team. The score was tied several times until a few game-changing blocks from the Red Rock middle shifted the momentum and gave them a four-point lead. The set ended on a Club V service error resulting in a 25-19 Red Rock victory.
Eager to bounce back in Game 2, Club V was energetic and in command for most of the set. However, the hard-hitting Red Rock squad was relentless. Following a timeout, Red Rock continued to apply pressure, eventually causing back-to-back Club V mistakes and taking their first lead of the set, 18-17. After taking the lead, the team didn’t hold back. A few big kills and timely serves later and Red Rock grabbed a comeback win, taking Game 2, 25-20.
Both teams were evenly matched but the difference in the game was the striking composure shown by Red Rock after Club V took early leads in both sets. They stuck to their “next play” mentality, trusted one another and ultimately took advantage of Club V mistakes.
“Today was a solid day for us. These girls love each other and fight for each other and it’s fun to coach them,” said Red Rock head coach Bobby Walton, clearly pleased with his team’s 2-1 effort on the day.
Witnessing their maturity and composure on the court, you’d think this team had been playing together for years, however that’s not the case. Walton explained that there are only four returners on the roster this year, making their chemistry that much more impressive.
Among the returners is Michelle Ohwobete, a powerful and consistent outside hitter. With 430+ top tier teams and hundreds of college coaches swarming the building, the NIT stage can be overwhelming for some, but Ohwobete isn’t afraid of the challenge. “I love seeing competition and I love seeing people that are better than me because I can learn so much from them and see how I can get to the next level,” she said.
Playing right alongside Ohwobete is middle-hitter Kate Rose. Rose was impressive in multiple facets of the game, ultimately sealing the deal in Game 2 with several solid serves.
“Being such a short middle it kind-of forces me to be versatile because different coaches have wanted me to play different positions. Coach Walton has been really working with me on my serves so it can enable me to play back row when needed,” Rose said.