Kaiser's Nathalia Burciaga sets the ball against Fontana in a match on Sept. 2. (Contributed photo by Jerry Soifer)

Last fall, the Kaiser High School volleyball team was unable to compete because of the COVID-19 crisis, but the players maintained their close relationships even though their season was canceled.

During the pandemic, the girls participated in “a lot of Zoom calls and workouts together,” said coach Felix Alvarado. Now they have entered the 2021 season hungry, and “they just love the fact that they’re back on the court,” he said.

Indeed, the Cats have been playing very well so far this fall, compiling an overall record of 7-3.

On Sept. 2, they obtained their sixth straight victory, a 3-0 triumph over Fontana, in the Sunkist League opener.

Alvarado was impressed with the Cats’ ability to bring down the strong Fohi squad, which entered the match with an 8-2 record.

“The girls came out with high energy and were aggressive at the net,” Alvarado said. “I love the fact that they’re a close-knit group, and they showed it on the court today.”

The Cats’ three senior captains agreed.

“We’re successful because we have good chemistry,” said Precious Chikezie. “We’re best friends off the court and on the court.”

Natalie Cage said: “The team’s doing well because we’re a family, not just a team; we’re a sisterhood and a family.”

“The huge heart that we have for each other — and being there for each other, through the good and the bad — is really what’s keeping us going,” said setter Nathalia Burciaga, who provides the assists for hitters Cage and Chikezie.

Alvarado said libero Lola Bedolla, a junior, has been another one of the vital contributors for the Kaiser squad.

The coach said the Cats are looking forward to the rest of the league season.

“I think our team is underestimated in our division,” he said. “Hopefully we can come out in this new Sunkist League and make some noise.”

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