Varsity sharpens defense in 3-set victory against MA


Jeffrey Huang

Sadie Snipes hits the ball in the Bulls’ home-opener victory against Marin Academy on Sept. 1. Girls varsity volleyball heads to Danville Friday.

By Shun Graves

Branson’s academic archrival faced a three-set defeat Thursday at the hands of a girls varsity volleyball team that has sharpened its defense.

Some of the strongest points during the game, especially during the 25-11 second set, came at the hands of sophomore libero Lauren Dignan. But an all-around rally by the team had Marin Academy facing a decisive defeat at the Bulls’ home opener.

“We started off a little shaky, but we got our stuff together and it turned out great,” Dignan said.

Yet the team has room to grow. A nail-biting first set recalled the dropped first set of last week’s season opener, until the offense kicked in, winning the set 25-21.

“We start drills out slow at practice; it’s something we know and I think it is gradually getting better,” coach Michelle Brazil said. “And like I said, it was grossly improved from O’Dowd, so it’s better.”

Energy from the student section audibly grew as Branson advanced to a double-digit lead during the second set. Three kills from Elena Fisher and four from Sadie Snipes, along with digs from Dignan, easily earned the Bulls the second set.

That energy persisted during a slower third set, which Branson won 25-20. Marin Academy attempted a come-from-behind set win but failed despite some errors from the Bulls.

The team will face Danville’s Monte Vista (6-1) Friday in another non-league test of whether the Bulls’ offense can rev up again.

“I think if we’re able to play our game at a consistent level it will be a great game, but I am confident in our ability,” Brazil said. “They have much stronger middle attack than we’ve seen this season, so it’s going to be about our ability to slow it down and not make unforced errors in big moments.”

The Bulls hope to reduce unforced errors going forward, she added. The team continues its non-league play as it faces Monte Vista.

“I heard they are a strong team, but I know we’re stronger,” Cayman Stein said.

And the team hopes to improve its first-set offense, Eva Lacy said.

“You’re not always going to be as warm as you will be in the first set and everyone’s figuring out how the other team plays, but as the season goes on, I know that we’ll come out on top.”

With reporting from Cameron Aryanpour.