Novato takes shellacking at hands of Bulls


Shun Graves

Celia Tolmie sets the ball during Branson’s home game against Novato, Sept. 21, 2022. Girls varsity volleyball defeated the MCAL foe by double digits every set.

By Shun Graves

At home and in element, girls varsity volleyball didn’t just defeat Novato — the team defeated its MCAL opponent by double digits in all three sets.

The game Wednesday evening featured a consistent offense that didn’t spare Novato. Coming off a nail-biting loss Tuesday at Marin Catholic, the Bulls returned home in full form for a 25-9, 25-14, 25-9, three-set victory.

“Definitely an awesome team effort,” outside hitter Elena Fisher said. “Everyone got on the court. Everyone contributed. It was a great way to bounce off of yesterday.”

The first set began with an ace by Logan Tusher and a kill by Sadie Snipes, with the Bulls winning the first five points. Novato failed to make attacks and, on several occasions, couldn’t receive the ball. That allowed for a string of aces that set, with four from Snipes and two from Celia Tolmie. When the ball finally settled on the hardwood, Branson had won the set by 16 points.

Definitely an awesome team effort. Everyone got on the court. Everyone contributed.

— Elena Fisher

Underclassmen made a big splash during the second set, which began with a swift kill by Simone Carr. Then the aces and kills kept coming, while Novato struggled to return balls and keep its court covered. Though Novato tried to mount an attack halfway through the set, its defense didn’t provide the requisite support as Branson’s underclassmen made their mark.

“I’m really happy and proud of them,” Fisher said. “They’ve improved so much in practice, and I’m just happy that they got to experience being with everyone. And they did amazing.”

Snipes made a kill to inaugurate the third set, setting the Bulls’ well-oiled offense in motion. Novato again struggled to receive balls. Several kills from several Bulls later, Branson clinched the set, again by 16 points.

“We had a good idea of how it was going to go, and basically, the girls were on autopilot,” substitute coach Lynn Stein said of the team’s expectations. “When you’re mismatched like that, it’s really easy to lose momentum.”

Branson (2-1 in league) returns to home court Friday against Archie Williams (1-1) with a renewed consistency on its offense and a wide-ranging defense. Snipes, an outside hitter, called the game exciting. She’ll face her sister, Elsa Snipes, on the other side of the court.

“It’s always a really fun match; they’re a good team,” Sadie Snipes said. “And obviously, it’s a fun sibling rivalry, so I’m really, really excited for that game.”