Feather River College’s volleyball team is having a great season, compiling a 21-2 record.
FRC is currently ranked second in northern California and fifth in the state.
FRC’s only losses were to Fresno City College and American River College, both of which are ranked in the top 10 volleyball teams in the state.
The Feather River College volleyball team has only 14 players this year, but these women have won 21 of their first 23 games. Photo submitted
“This is the best group of girls I’ve ever coached,” said FRC coach Sarah Ritchie. “They don’t bring any drama into practice or the games. They come in every day ready to play and just work really hard.”
A major difference between previous years’ teams and this year’s is that there are only 14 players on the team. In the past, 20 players always made up the team.
Each player is allowed more time to practice and get one-on-one instruction from the coaches. With assistant coaches Amanda Sbragia and Brittney Holls, Ritchie is able to work with four to five players at a time. In past years, Ritchie was forced to work with 10 at once, allowing far less time to work on volleyball fundamentals.
The smaller team also means teammates are closer: they associate with each other on and off the court and have taken part in several team-building events.
“When we’re on the road,” said Ritchie, “we try to have a good time and do something other than just play volleyball. I’ll do anything to bond the team and make them work together.”
The events the team took part in are varied. They ran through the world’s largest corn maze. They explored downtown San Francisco. They hiked to the Sierra Buttes lookout tower. They often took trips to local lakes and rivers.
Focusing on building a strong team rather than simply winning one game at a time was a successful strategy for Ritchie. Now, with only two losses, FRC’s volleyball team is a serious contender for the state championship.
“The girls came up with a common goal: ‘Let’s win some games and let’s win state,’” said Ritchie.
The team starts conference matches against College of the Siskiyous on Wednesday, Oct. 10, at 6 p.m. The match is free to attend, though donations are accepted for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.