The stands at Cabrillo Middle School on Tuesday night burst with cheers and applause as the Foothill varsity boys’ volleyball team fought against Bishop Diego in their first home game of the season. The Dragons lost to the Cardinals with an overall score of 1-3 in sets.
Foothill was a a disadvantage from the start, being, as freshman Chad Talaugon put it, “a bunch of freshmen going up against six-foot seniors.” On top of that, the freshmen would not be playing against just any team, but one of the top-ranked teams in the Tri-Valley League.
The first set started in Bishop Diego’s favor and stayed there the remainder of the set. Talaugon, senior Aaron Hooks, and freshman Jerod Frederick each spiked the ball and a block out of bounds ended the set 16-25 with the Cardinals in the lead.
Coach Janine Cobian felt this was the turning point of the game as the players began to feel less nervous and warm up to their competitors.
“The middle of the first game, once the boys started getting a little less nervous, getting into the system and getting comfortable playing the team [was the turning point],” Cobian said.
“They didn’t know what to expect and I probably scared them a little bit [by] saying, ‘Yeah, this is probably going to be a tough team, one of the hardest in our league,’” she said, “so […] they got a little nervous with each other, but then they just started playing volleyball and had fun.”
With this refreshed confidence, the Dragons clawed their way to a win in the second set, which featured four spikes from Frederick and a block from Hooks which drew cheers from the crowd. The set ended with a score of 25-16.
In the third set, Frederick brought the crowd to its feet by spiking the ball three times. Hooks made a solid block, ending the set at a close score of 23-25.
The Cardinals, though, had flown too far ahead, and the Dragons were unable to catch up in the fourth set, which ended with a score of 14-25. Bishop Diego took the win, three sets to one.
Hooks, however, was not discouraged by the loss.
“I think the way we worked as a team, our dynamic [was] really good tonight. I was really happy with how we kind of adapted to each other’s playing [styles], and we were able to put up a good fight,” Hooks said.
Despite losing the game, Coach Cobian was very proud of the team and how hard they played.
“I am ecstatic. The boys played wonderfully. Bishop’s supposed to be the strongest team in our league and we had no idea what to expect so I’m thrilled. I am very happy,” Cobian said.
Freshman Tommy Hurley thought the team’s “talking should’ve been improved, [and] communicating with each other,” which Talaugon agreed with. Talaugon also saw needed improvements with the team’s “confidence,” but realizes that, as the first-ever Foothill boys’ volleyball team, they have time to build themselves up.
“Improvement, definitely, is all anyone can ask for,” he said. “A couple of us are a little timid, but overall, if we gain a little more confidence against these big juniors and seniors, most of the freshmen on our team will improve against that.”
Hooks is looking forward to “just kind of grow as players” and bond with the team.
“We’re basically like family. We spend everyday together, so [I’m looking to] really just have fun, and put up a good fight against teams we play,” he said. “It’s a big honor. […] They’re a great group of guys, and we’re all really happy, so it’s good. I’m really proud to be a Dragon.”
Frederick, too, felt honored to be part of this inaugural year of sports representing Foothill.
“I think it’s pretty cool. It’s an honor to be part of the varsity team, and, it being the first team, if we start winning games, we’ll be a legacy,” he said.