READY TO ROLL­ — The CHS varsity volleyball team (pictured here last season), has opened the 2019 campaign with eight wins in their first 10 outings.

The 2019 season could be the year for the Cloverdale varsity volleyball team, with the Eagles racing out of the blocks to record eight wins in their first 10 matches.

Veteran coach Margaret Fitzgerald is back to lead a squad that is equal parts talent, depth and experience, a potent combination that could challenge for the top spot in the NCL1 hierarchy.

“We have a lot of depth on our team,” Fitzgerald said. “The chemistry is really good right now and I'm looking for a successful and exciting season.”

Returning to lead the team are seniors Tehya Bird and Lane Hughes. Other key players are Maci Hernandez, Janaye Hammond, Ahnna Randolph, Sadie Torinato, Summer Lands, Brook Pope, Grace Gloeckner, Viv McKinney and Val Lorence.

The Eagles opened the 2019 campaign with a five-set thriller over Healdsburg last month (14-25, 20-25, 26-24, 25-16, 15-13) before falling to Roseland University Prep (16-25, 21-25, 21-25).

Cloverdale went 3-0 at the Calistoga Tournament on Aug. 30 with wins over Credo (25-16), 23-25, 15-12), Upper Lake (25-14, 25-16) and Anderson Valley (25-11, 25-13).

Last weekend, the Eagles went 4-1 to take third place at the Healdsburg Invitational Tournament, recording victories over Tomales (25-13, 25-15), St. Helena (25-17, 25-16), Novato (25-23, 25-21) and San Marin (25-20, 25-19). Their lone loss came against Healdsburg in the semifinals; 21-25, 16-25.

At press time Cloverdale was preparing to open the league season on Sept. 10 at Middletown before making a Sept. 17 visit to Fort Bragg (6 p. m.). The Eagles return home to host Clear Lake on Sept. 19 (5 p.m.). 

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