Carlmont has reached the Central Coast Section Division I volleyball semifinals each of the past two years and has not been able to get over the hump.
First-year coach Chris Crader thinks this season’s team has the ability to get past the semifinals and reach the finals for the first time since 2005, when the school claimed a CCS Division I championship.
“I walked into a pretty talented group of girls,” Crader said. “We need to build on what we’ve done so far.”
Carlmont (4-4) opened its season with five matches at the Milpitas Spikefest, which included a three-set loss to CCS Division II semifinalist Archbishop Mitty.
The Scots took the first set 29-27, and it was in that match Crader knew what his team was capable of.
“I knew we could play at that level,” Crader said. “But I didn’t know the girls [knew that].”
Carlmont returns four seniors who have been the on- and off-court leaders, taking pressure off the younger players.
Third-year starting middle blocker Torika Ramulo has given her teammates confidence through her consistently positive attitude, Crader said.
Senior Ashley Duba switched over to libero this season and, according to Crader, has provided great defense and passing.
Shelby Vance and Kendall Beebe have also provided a boost for the Scots.
“Knowing the seniors are doing their job makes it easier on the juniors and seniors,” Crader said.
Junior transfer Kallan Bedard, who is in her first year at the varsity level, moved into the district over the summer and has already been a pleasant surprise for Carlmont.
“She will keep getting better as the season rolls on,” Crader said.
Sophomores Amelia Tupou and Charlotte Jackman have been starting for Carlmont and have been contributing more each match, Crader said.
“When you’re more confident, you’re more able to play your best,” he said.
Carlmont begins league play Tuesday against Burlingame, trying to break through in league after finishing third last season.
Crader knows his team still has a lot to work on.
Crader said his team still needs to improve its defense, make the offense more complicated and efficient and be more consistent.
“If we keep getting better every week, we’ll play well against the teams in our league,” Crader said. “I felt it was going to be tough, but we have the talent.”
The Scots will take part in the Menlo-Atherton Tournament next weekend after only one week of league play and are hoping to work on aspects of their game that will be beneficial later in the season.
“You’re trying to get better in the stuff you know you’ll need [in the playoffs],” Crader said.
Carlmont is looking to get some of its younger players comfortable on the court, allowing the Scots to expand their lineup.
“The challenge will prepare the team for CCS opponents,” Crader said.
COACH: Chris Crader, first year
2011 RECORD: 4-4
2010 RECORD: 21-13
LEAGUE OPENER: Tuesday, vs. Burlingame
NOTES: Carlmont lost to eventual state champion Palo Alto in the CCS Division I semifinals last season. ... The Scots last won a CCS championship in 2005.