While football programs were donning pads for the first time in preparation for Saturday’s scrimmages, the remaining fall sports hit the court, fields and courses for the first time.
Volleyball, boys and girls soccer, cross country, boys and girls tennis and girls golf teams all opened up official practice Monday.
Not surprisingly, some teams were far from mid-season form on the first day of tryouts.
“The first day was definitely rusty. We practiced twice, and it was probably what you would expect from the first day of practice,” SSHS volleyball coach Frank Sandomenico said. “Our practice this morning was significantly better today. We have another practice tonight, so we’re hoping we get better each time.”
The Cougars were one of the teams that enjoyed unprecedented success a year ago, reaching the Northern 4A Region championship match. There’s a whole new excitement surrounding the program and Sandomenico said there were a lot of cuts at the JV level due to an increased interest by girls wanting to play volleyball.
Sandomenico wasn’t the only coach pleased with the turnout for the first day of official workouts.
Across town on the pitch of Reed High, girls soccer coach Jason Saville has high hopes for the future.
“It was great. It was the second largest turnout since we got the job nine years ago,” Saville said. “We have a lot of great kids and a huge freshman class. We seem to have a lot of promising young talent coming through the ranks.”
In the early session of the first day of double-days, Saville had his players run a lot of one-on-one and two-on-two drills in order to measure how tenacious the players are on attack and defense. It’s a good way to see what the soccer IQ is for the kids coming into the program.
Saville said he will make cuts this morning and meet with each kid face to face in order to tell her if she made the team or not. If she didn’t, coaches give her three areas she can work on in order to come back and have a better chance of making the team the following year.
“If they’re going to get cut, it’s important for us to tell them why and encourage them to come back the following year,” Saville said.
Even though teams are only a few practices into the new season, one coach in particular is already beaming about his squad.
Sparks boys soccer Frank Avilla likes what he sees as the defending state champs.
“I don’t want to jinx us but we’re doing fine over here,” Avilla said. “Our little corner of the world over here is working well. We’re firing on all cylinders. We have very good team speed and the boys seem to be gelling and talking with each other more than ever. They know the task at hand. They have a mark on their back.”
Avilla said 26 players came out for the first day of practice but 30 are committed with four still out of town. Sparks and Reed are trying to plan a scrimmage either this week or next now that former Sparks assistant coach Joel Martinez is the head coach at Reed High.