Riverbend Volleyball

With football being the main attraction of high school fall sports, volleyball often receives very little attention from its students. This, however, is not the case here at RHS. With a very supportive fan base and a student section that is described as being “the best in the area,” we take pride in our volleyball.

And so far, the girls have yet to disappoint. The Bears have established a winning tradition here at RHS and have improved each of the past three seasons—going   11-9 two years ago, 13-7 last year, and rounding out the regular season at 14-8 this year. A lot of this can be accredited to coach Jack Linblad, who in his two years here, has “changed the culture” of the program and orchestrated a winning team.

Sitting at 14-8, the girls have earned themselves the luxury of hosting a home playoff game this postseason, a feat that rewarded them last year as they knocked off Hylton in the 1st round, and “couldn’t be happier” with where they are. This year, the Bears will try to make history repeat itself as they again will host Hylton in the 1st round less than a week after beating them at Hylton to close out the regular season.

But playoff contention isn’t easy, especially in the 6A division, the biggest and most competitive of Virginia’s six divisions. In fact, the team’s one postseason win last year totaled more than the football, baseball, boy’s and girl’s soccer, and girl’s basketball teams combined for the year.  The girls’ ultimate goal is a conference championship appearance, which, while the girls say is “definitely possible,” would be hard for the Bears as they would likely have to beat one or two of the conference’s powerhouses in Colonial Forge and Forest Park to so—an accolade they were not able to accomplish during the regular season.

The Bears, in the past, have always had strong senior leaders. This year is no different. While Rebecca Statler and Danielle Deiters headed the squad two years ago, Nicole Shannon, Hunter Ervin, and Ana Torres took over the job last year. This year, the reigns have been handed down to seniors Christina Beck, Peyton Linblad, and Seone Goode with Beck and Linblad serving as captains. The Bears are a talented team from top to bottom. With sophomore standouts Hannah Marstellar and Hannah Kerns and key junior contributors in Hanna Ervin (sister of Hunter) and Madi Burns, they feel they will remain competitive even in the years to come.

The Bears are also an extremely athletic team, as more than half are multisport athletes, but they lack the size of other powerhouse teams, despite having Linblad stand at 6’0, Goode at 5’10, and Burns at 5’8. This, however, doesn’t seem to bother the girls as they consider their cast of undersized hitters a strength of the team.  Goode is even verbally committed to play ball at Shepherd University and Linblad, who also has received college interest, has a spike that can be heard outside the gymnasium. Another area the Bears believe they excel in is team chemistry. The girls are all very close friends, and many of them play on the same club teams once the school season ends. They think one of their weaknesses as a team is lacking the mental composure to finish out sets.

The Bears are confident they can beat any team. They have leadership, talent, and a special bond between them. It has been a great season for the Bears so far, and it’ll be interesting to see how it comes to an end. Come watch them fight to keep their season alive next tonight, Tuesday October 28th, as your Bears take on Hylton in the 1st round of 2015 Conference 4 playoffs!