The phrase dominant may be an understatement for how good this Auburn Riverside volleyball program has been over the past decade. The Ravens showed their strength in a polished victory over the Auburn Mountainview Lions on Sept. 13.
“You look at those three banners and these girls talk about how much they want to add more and keep the culture of Riverside’s volleyball on our backs. So we’re reminded every day when we walk in, this is what we’re going for,” said Head Coach Mike Tienda.
On Sept. 13, the Ravens took down cross town rival Auburn Mountainview in straight sets. Riverside got their first home win of the 2023 season, which had been a difficult one so far. The Ravens came into the matchup against the Lions with a 1-3 record.
“We played much cleaner volleyball than when we started the season. We switched some key pieces and it’s starting to flow. We played solid volleyball,” said Tienda.
“The energy in here was great. Being at home and winning at home is just a different feeling and it’s great. I love it,” said senior Sophie Danielson.
Coming into this season, the Ravens have reached the state tournament nine seasons in a row going back to 2013. Having that sort of success on a regular basis comes down to emphasizing the details: “We hold the girls to a very high standard. These girls know it’s 110% once they walk through these gym doors. Check in and it’s go time,” Tienda said.
The Ravens haven’t lost a set to a crosstown rival since 2019. Auburn Mountainview hasn’t won a set against Riverside since 2015. The last loss was in 2011 against the Lions, utter domination over the city of Auburn on the volleyball court.
The three sets to none victory was relatively easy-breezy for the Ravens. In the opening set, Auburn Mountainview got the first point of the match, then it went all navy blue and teal. The Ravens held the Lions to under 10 points in the first set, winning 25-9.
Set two went the way of the Ravens again, but was a bit closer. Auburn Riverside got out to a 4-0 start and led 9-4 early. But the Lions got the game to within two, 10-8. The Ravens found their groove and closed out the set 25-11.
Auburn Riverside continued the good spell of play, jumping out to a 7-2 lead early in what would be the final set. The Ravens got the lead to 13 points before closing out the Lions, 25-9.
“We take pride in going out and performing every single game. We talked about how we should beat every single Auburn team. That’s just the team goal that’s been created through this program. I think it really holds us to a high standard,” Danielson said.
Playing at home puts the Ravens at a big advantage. A boisterous student section met with an enthusiastic bench provided a raucous atmosphere inside the Riverside gym. That noise and energy is something that the Ravens feed off of.
“These girls are a high energy team. They’re over here dancing on the bench,” said Tienda.
“We love our student section, they are par to none to some schools. They’re always supporting us and they’re really loud… It’s not like they’re just here to cheer them on, they get excited watching,” said Assistant Head Coach Stazi Edmond.
On the players’ side, they feel that energy on another level,: “I get so hyped, it’s so fun. When you go back to serve and everybody is cheering for you, it’s such an adrenaline rush,” Danielson said.