Portola High Sponsors First Ever Volleyball Tournament


Photo by Jenny Zhang

#28 Sophomore Lexi Teats prepares to serve.

Jenny Zhang

Junior varsity and frosh/soph teams pulled off stunning upsets during the first ever tournament in the school gymnasium on Sept. 23. Neither team ended up with gold; the title went to Tustin High.

Fifteen teams from high schools throughout Orange County competed, including Beckman, Crean Lutheran and Woodbridge High.

This first tournament, organized by junior varsity assistant coach Eric Graham, took a significant step in Portola’s sports history.

“We have such a beautiful facility on campus that I thought I want as many schools [as possible to] be able to see it,” Graham said. “I want our girls to be able to play at a tournament at their own campus.”

Both teams performed at their best levels to date and demonstrated Bulldog pride throughout the day-long tournament. Frosh/soph began with an astonishing victory over Mater Dei High (25-20) in the first round of the championship bracket, ultimately finishing in fifth place.

Junior varsity pulled off an equally impressive performance over favored Laguna Beach High later in the competition (25-13). Junior varsity head coach Heidi Martasian attributed much of this success to hard work.

“We are more able to run our middles, and that’s important to do for a more diversified offensive,” Martasian said.

The process of creating new sports opportunities requires extra effort to achieve the best results.

In the case of the volleyball tournament, “It definitely took a lot of time and a lot of organization. I probably emailed 150 schools to invite them,” Graham said.

Though several schools gave a positive response, Graham still had to prepare for the unexpected.  

“Another challenge is the anxiety; you are not exactly sure how the day is going to go. What if a team doesn’t show up [and] ruins the schedule?” Graham said. “ I think the unknowns make it a challenge, but definitely it was the time aspect [that was] the biggest challenge.”

Despite the challenges and inexperience, the tournament was widely seen as a resounding success.

The positive comments from the audience were summed up by one tournament attendee: “I think [this tournament] is great, because it is such a relatively new school. Last year and this year you can see a huge improvement. I think this is another way to let people know that Portola is also here.”