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Young Otay Ranch girls volleyball team off to strong start Phillip Brents | Sat, Oct 02 2010 11:53 PM

The Otay Ranch High School girls volleyball team faces off Mesa League play Tuesday, Oct. 5, against visiting Hilltop. After graduating 10 seniors and returning zero starters, the Mustang coaching staff has elected to go with a young line-up featuring seven freshmen and sophomores on the varsity roster. The result has been a surprisingly strong 6-3 start in non-league play.

“With a completely new squad, the varsity is playing with a scrappy attitude and looks determined to keep its 20 wins per season streak alive,” said ORHS coach James “Bowie” Haug, whose team won its opening six matches of the season, including its first five games at the Mammoth tournament. “This young squad expects to surprise some teams and contend for a league championship.”

The team’s top three returners are all seniors: defensive specialist Michelle Garcia, opposites Rheanne Ulanday and Kristen De Los Reyes.

Both Ulanday and De Los Reyes have been designated as team captains.

“Michelle has stepped up as a leader and is playing good defense,” Haug said. “Rheanne provides a good block and scoring touch while Kristen has developed into a good scoring threat on the service line and hitting.”

The team’s top newcomers include freshman Skye Compton and sophomore Carlee Wood, both outside hitters.

Haug labels Compton as a “freshman with a big arm” and Wood as “a great defensive player with good attacking range.”

The Mustangs swept Mar Vista, 3-0, to jump-start the season and went 5-1 at the Mammoth tournament Sept. 10-11 before falling to section rivals Rancho Bernardo (3-1 on Sept. 14) and University City (3-2 on Sept. 22).

Hilltop is 3-6 but defeated Rancho Bernardo, 3-2, on Sept. 23.

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