SAN DIEGO, CAL.- The Bob Jones volleyball program used its fall break to take the trip of a lifetime by traveling to San Diego, Cal. for the 2017 California Challenge. The 32-team event featured squads from throughout California, Nevada and Arizona, plus Bob Jones, which garnered the honor of team with the farthest locale.
“I’m glad we made the trip as the competition was very high and our experience in the event will make us better and gave us a great opportunity for superb team building,” said April Marsh head coach of Bob Jones.
For senior Alana Cox, the trip was her first to California and one she will never forget. “I loved the fact we got to see what life is like outside of Alabama. We had a great time. Great team bonding.”
The Patriots rented a six-bedroom house in the La Jolla community and made the usual visits to local sites including swimming in the Pacific Ocean and walking among the history-rich Old Towne of San Diego. The highlight of the visits was to “The Happiest Place On Earth” known as Disneyland Park in Anaheim. The trip to the home of Mickey and Minnie Mouse nearly didn’t happen as the Canyon Fire 2 was nearby scorching the surrounding lands and giving off a dramatic orange glow of the sky, which was partially filled with smoke. More than 8,000 acres of land were burned by the fire. The Disneyland Park area remained open while the fast-moving fire made for an eerie orange sky, giving incredible photo ops among the iconic areas of Disneyland Park such as the Haunted Mansion and Sleeping Beauty Castle.
“We had nice weather the entire time we were there and the girls saw sea lions while at the beach and watched surfers take their rides on nearby waves coming from the Pacific,” said Marsh. “We rented three vehicles for our transportation necessities.”
The Patriots, who head into the playoff portion of the 2017 as Area champs are 27-9 on the season and ranked No. 3 in Class 7A, were 2-5 in the California Challenge. They lost their first four matches before coming back with two victories prior to losing to Point Loma 15-25, 25-15, 9-15 in the finals of the Competition Division Championship. Marsh said of the team’s effort, “We played as well as we could have as there were lots of distraction there, but the ball control by our opponents and those opponents being very strong and moving well was the difference for us. We made a lot of errors.”
Cox added, “We saw how Californians play and have great ball control and communication as those are very important to being winners.”
Final scores from the action, that was hosted by Torrey Pines High School and sponsored by Nike, showed the Patriots on the losing end in matches against Santa Margarita (10-25, 18-25), Saint Joseph (16-25, 23-25), La Jolla (25-27, 25-22, 17-19), and Ramona (21-25, 25-23, 12-15) before making the trip into tournament format play. In the tourney round of play, Bob Jones defeated Palm Springs (score unavailable) and Los Osos (25-21, 25-16) before falling to Point Loma in the finals.
“I’ll always remember who I went with on this trip and the fact my mother came with me,” said Cox. “I love this team.”
By Bob Labbe