WATSONVILLE — The Watsonville Wildcatz volleyball program switched hands during the summer after former coach Ron Benavente finished his run, in which he led them to their first ever Monterey Bay League championship in the 2010 season, and Susan Jeske is now at the helm.
Although it’s early, the program looks like it’s in good hands.
Jeske, who spent last season as the head coach of the junior varsity program at Anzar, has opened up the season with a 2-1 record and her girls are fighting hard for their new coach.
“It’s just fun,” said Lisette Godinez-Rivera. “It’s good to be out there playing volleyball.”
The Catz’s first loss came against Lynbrook this Tuesday. After giving up two sets, Watsonville began to roll.
They battled back in the third set after being down seven points and won 25-23 to stay alive.
“I was really nervous and scared,” said Godinez-Rivera. “I just wanted everyone to keep the ball in.”
They went on to force a fifth and deciding set, but were eventually defeated 15-12.
“We had a kind of a slow start,” said Jeske, “but after they started getting the rhythm and they got used to the rotation they were, talking to each other, communicating, everything started to fall into place.”
They used that blazing finish to power their way through Jeske’s old school on Wednesday evening.
The Catz took down Anzar in straight sets 25-17, 25-18, 25-11.
“When I talked to girls after the game was over I told them, ‘We need to make sure we play tomorrow’s game and the game after that and Saturday the exact same way that we played in those final three sets,’” said Jeske after the loss to Lynbrook.
Now, the Catz will play their cross-town rivals the Pajaro Valley Grizzlies today at 6:15 p.m. at Watsonville High School.
Although she’s new to the rivalry Jeske understands what’s on the line for her girls tonight.
“It’s not a big game for me, but it is for my players. They’ve already been saying, ‘I just want to make sure we win that game,’ I’ve been a part of some great rivalries. We didn’t want to lose to Hollister when I was at Gilroy, so I admire those competitive matches. It does nothing but good for both teams.”
Pajaro Valley hasn’t beaten Watsonville since the 2009 season.
The Grizzlies have not won a set against Catz since the 2010 season.
Godinez-Rivera thinks more of the same will happen today.
“That’s an easy one. Next team.”
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Watsonville volleyball Susan Jeske lisette Godinez-rivera Pajaro Valley