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San Jose St. practices inside Bud Castle Gym

Amy Alonzo Rozak / Union Democrat. Hanah Blume, a 2010 Sonora High graduate, attempts to spike the ball during a San Jose State practice inside Bud Castle Gym.
The San Jose State Spartans volleyball team made a pit stop at Bud Castle Gym Wednesday for a practice session as part of their preseason team retreat and training schedule.

For one player, Hanah Blume, it was quite a homecoming.

“It’s kind of special for Hanah to be able to play in her high school gym again,” said Hanah’s father, Dave Blume.

A handful of Blume supporters were in the stands watching the 2010 Sonora High graduate and San Jose State captain lead the Spartans in practice on her home court. 

“It’s really nice because I got to have some of my family come and watch me,” Blume said.

The team’s two-hour session was split into fundamental and technique drills, and included a three-set scrimmage. A cool down rope stretching workout capped off the practice. Spartans head coach Oscar Crespo liked the competitive edge and energy displayed from his players during the practice.

“I was pleased with what I saw in regards to how they responded when they were asked to step up their level of play,” Crespo said. “They definitely did a good job.”

For Sonora Wildcat volleyball coach Kim Evans, she was impressed with the way the Spartans practice session was ran and how communicative the players were.

“They were very, very vocal,” Evans said. “They were really intense all the time, not a whole lot of chit-chatting on the sideline. They were very focused.”

For Evans, it was great for her players to see that quality of college volleyball at the highest level up close and personal.  She asked her players to keep an eye on their own positions to see if they can learn anything from watching the Division I players in action.

And most did.

“They’re so synchronized at everything,” said Ali Pelfrey, 17, a Sonora senior. “We are starting to really pick up on that.”

Sonora senior setter Maria Chacon, 16, feels that she learned a thing or two from the Spartans practice too.

“By watching them you see how much of a work ethic they have and how hard they work,” Chacon said. “And really how to be a better team.”

The on-court communication that the Spartans showed is what Chacon will take away most from the practice.

“To see how they communicate and how they work together and push each other to be better is amazing,” Chacon said. “I think when we all sit down and watch a good team, we all pick up on the little things that we personally need to, to come together as a team.”

That intense effort and style that the Spartans exposed in practice is something that Evans hopes can rub off on her team when the Wildcats begins its quest for another Valley Oak League championship this season.

“I love my girls to be able to see that kind of thing, the focus and the drive, that it takes to win,” Evans said.

The high school volleyball players weren’t the only people in the gym that was able to take something away from the practice. Evans will add a few new wrinkles to her team’s assault too, after witnessing the Spartans on the court.

“We liked what they did blocking-wise,” Evans said. “And so this year, we are looking to maybe implement some of the same things that they do.”

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