Izzy Pisani declares she has spent so much time in the Pescadero High School gym she calls it her “second home.”
While she was away at her actual home during the summer, that second home got a major facelift.
With the floor sanded down and completely repainted, the gym opened up to Pisani and her Pescadero teammates for the first day of practice on Aug. 27. Two days later, the gym hosted its first volleyball match of the season.
Opening night was a success, as the Vikings rallied to beat Chinese Christian, 28-26, 11-25, 25-22, 23-25, 16-14 in a nonleague match.
The Vikings play at Half Moon Bay at 5:30, Thursday, and host Fremont Christian at 4 p.m., Friday.
The Vikings start Bay Counties League play on Sept. 11 at Leadership.
The reopening of the gym brought plenty of excitement to the Vikings. The biggest day of the season, prior to the match with Chinese Christian, based in Alameda, was the gym’s opening.
“It’s a good remodel,” Pisani said. “We have one main court and two practice courts that we have to set up. We even have Mr. Viking in the middle of the floor.”
The gym also appears brighter, thanks to stripping off the wax from the floor. Though new lights were not installed, the refurbished floor gives the gym a brighter and festive appearance when the sun shines in through the skylights.
“We used to come in here and look purple,” said setter Corina Rodriguez. “Now the gym is nice and bright. It gives us some energy.”
The excitement might have been too much for some, as the Rams took a 6-1 lead in the first set.
“Before the match, Izzy and I were shaking,” Rodriguez said.
Slowly, the nervousness subsided and better volleyball was being played.
A fair number of points were scored when both teams misfired on their serves.
“Not getting in the gym right away did hurt us with our serving,” said coach Wayne Johnson. “We spent the first few days doing drills outside.”
The Rams were a point away from winning the first set. Instead, Pescadero scored four straight points. Following some sideouts, Pescadero finally clinched the first set, 28-26.
After the Rams won the second set in dominating fashion, the teams split the next two sets with close matches.
Chinese Christian led most of the way in the fourth set, but couldn’t finish the Vikings off.
“When it was 12-12, we put it in our heads that we had to win,” Rodriguez said. “There was no way we were going to lose. This was our first game in the new gym. We wanted to win.”
The Vikings pulled off that win, setting off a brief celebration.
“We finally have a full-blown, regulation-size court,” Johnson said. “It’s nice to have a win in our first game.”
After the match, the court was changed, setting up two practice courts. Having the one court for games was plenty exciting.
“It’s like being bumped up from coach to first class,” Johnson said.