Peninsula Athletic League volleyball teams converged on the Cabrillo Event Center on Saturday for timed scrimmages in advance of the new season. August Howell / Review

The Half Moon Bay High School Cougars’ volleyball season is underway. With a young team in a new division, the girls varsity team is starting a new chapter. 

The team joined seven other Peninsula Athletic League teams in 25-minute, timed matches at the PAL Jamboree, a scrimmage tournament held on Saturday at the Cabrillo Event Center. There were no official scores or stats recorded during the scrimmages. Half Moon Bay played six games against South San Francisco, Mills, Westmoor, San Mateo, Carlmont and Terra Nova. 

The jamboree also provided experience for new league referees. Coach Ryan Havice said referees have been hard to find in the past, but there is an increase this season. 

“It’s a great opportunity for all of the PAL schools that want to participate to get some free touches and extra reps,” Havice said. “Plus, I think it helps develop the camaraderie among the league.”

With most of last year’s team graduated, Havice has a fresh challenge on his plate. He has 12 players, the smallest varsity team he’s coached. He said making this season’s team was especially difficult as he had to cut an additional 12 players who tried out. 

The varsity team is looking to rebound from a turbulent 2018 campaign in which the Cougars went 2-15 with one league win. After four years of competing in the PAL Bay division, they’ve moved to the Ocean division. While most of his team has no varsity experience, Havice believes, with both a new team and division, they’ve got a fresh opportunity. 

“Most of these kids have been playing for me or playing here on the Coastside for four to five years, so it doesn’t really feel like starting from scratch,” Havice said. “It’s just the next iteration of the team.”  

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