PASO ROBLES — The Paso Robles Bearcats girls varsity volleyball team has a new head coach this season in Caleb Ferguson and are off to a red hot start at the beginning of the year as their straight-sets victory over Mission Prep 30-28, 25-13, 25-16 puts them at 1-0 in the Mountain League and 11-2 overall.
Paso Robles has already won six more games this season than they did last year when they finished 5-19 overall and 3-9 in the Mountain League. As a result of their success so far, they enter league as a surprise contender with Arroyo Grande who is 12-2 and San Luis Obispo who took the Eagles to five on Tuesday night and won a State title a year ago.
“We are really excited to work this new season with the new coach,” senior Phoebe Corgiat said. “He brings a lot of energy. We are really trying to just finish. In previous seasons, our team has done really well and then we let up at the end. So his emphasis has been on finishing at the end of the game and just pushing through, even if we start a little weak like we did in this first game.”
If Ferguson’s message to the girls is to finish then they executed perfectly on Tuesday night when they welcomed the Royals into their gym. As Corgiat said, the Bearcats came out slow and lethargic and Mission Prep jumped out to an early 4-0 lead. The Royals then extended their lead to 16-10 forcing Ferguson to call his first timeout of the match.
“We started a little slow in the first set but then they adjusted well and I think that they just came out flat,” Ferguson said after the match. “I told them, ‘Hey, you can decide how you want to start league and we can start flat or we can pick it up right now,’ and they decided to go with the latter.”
Immediately following the timeout, the Bearcats went on a 10-3 run on the right arm of Corgiat who began launching thunderbolts down at the Royals from heights that only she could reach. Paso Robles was the first team to 25 but in order to win by two, they had to keep battling and eventually pulled out the overtime victory 30-28 and never looked back. In the next two sets, the Bearcats displayed their excellent service as senior captain Sofie Prieto went on a long run to start the game. Paso Robles won the second game 25-13 and cruised to a straight-sets victory in the third as the Royals began to acknowledge their defeat.
Over the weekend, the Bearcats attended the Madera Classic volleyball tournament and took second place, going 6-1 over two days. The Bearcats beat Fresno Pacific, Dinuba and Corcoran on Friday and then beat Liberty, Sanger and Dinuba a second time on Saturday before falling in the championship game to Visalia-Redwood, who is a top 50 team in California this season.
Paso Robles looks to ride this wave of momentum into Thursday when they must load up the busses for an always hard-fought game against their rival Greyhounds who, after a slow start, would love nothing more than to derail Paso Robles’ season. The varsity is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m.