Arcadia High School’s three girls’ volleyball teams have a combined record 38-4 (at press time), dominating play at all levels this season and positioning the program for success for years to come.
The varsity team is poised to make a post season run, hopefully ending with a state championship. The playoffs begin on November 5. The state championship game is on November 13.
“This season we’ve had one of the best starts that we’ve had in a long time,” said Head Coach Jackie Bunker. “I think one of the things that makes a big difference in our team is that we have so many returning players this year. Of the 14 girls on our team, only two didn’t play on varsity last year.”
In fact, the team’s only losses were to Chaparral High School and Seton Catholic Prep, which also boast strong teams and look to figure into the post-season scenario. Going forward, Bunker is focused on keeping her team’s confidence high.
“We have so much talent, and we have the skills,” Bunker said. “But when you have an excellent record, maintaining that confidence is important.”
The varsity team’s success under Bunker can also be traced to Arcadia’s JV and freshman/sophomore volleyball teams. Although these two squads don’t have a post-season tournament to participate in, they each have records of 13-1, with their only losses to Chaparral.
The strength of the varsity team, which is almost entirely seniors, means the JV team is stocked with a talented roster of girls from ninth through 11th grades.
“We have freshmen, sophomores and juniors playing on our JV team,” Bunker said. “Because we have so many seniors on our varsity team, we weren’t able to move up a lot of girls from JV, so that left us with a team that was packed with serious experience.”
The freshman/sophomore team is also talent-rich, and came closest to actually toppling rival Chaparral.
“That was a very close game; they went extra points in the third set,” Bunker said.
Many of the girls on the freshman/sophomore team also play indoor club volleyball year-round or beach volleyball, so they bring that experience with them to the team.
“Having this high-level of experience definitely affects the overall performance of the team in a most positive way,” Bunker said.
Bunker is in her fourth year as head volleyball coach at Arcadia, so she’s been with her seniors since their freshman year. She says she’s enjoyed her time helping her players play at high level and connect with each other.
“Our volleyball program has always been like a second family,” said senior Grace Eubanks. “It’s really hard to go into high school and adjust to such a big change in your life, but being on my team, I didn’t have to worry about that anymore as I instantly found somewhere to belong.”