By Derek Wilson
For a time last year, Gracie Enslin was worried her senior year with the San Marin volleyball team was going to be wiped out by the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, she wants to make sure the younger players on the squad carry the pride and tradition of Mustang volleyball into a new era.
Enslin was a late-season call-up to the varsity squad when San Marin captured the 2017 Northern California Division V volleyball crown.
“A lot of the new girls wouldn’t remember that era of San Marin volleyball,” Enslin said. “In my era, winning the NorCal title was such a big thing. It’s funny to think the new girls wouldn’t remember that we won the title. Hearing from us that San Marin is capable of that keeps them excited and proud of San Marin volleyball. There are a lot of new girls on the team and they have a lot of potential. San Marin volleyball continues to be strong.”
After months of uncertainty, San Marin and the rest of the Marin County Athletic League teams tipped off their 2021 season — better late than never — this week. The Mustangs visited perennial powerhouse Marin Catholic on Tuesday, April 20.
“I’m really excited we’re having a season. Honestly, there were times I didn’t think we would,” Enslin admitted. “It’s one of those things where the season kept getting pushed back and we had more restrictions. We had a few open gyms at the beginning of the year, but that then stopped with more restrictions because of COVID. … Happily, I’m surprised we can have a season.”
She continued, “Definitely, there’s part of me that was upset I might miss my senior season and senior night. After watching everyone go through the past few years, that was something I was looking forward to. It looks so cool, so fun. I’m glad we’ll get to do that. I’m glad we’ll get to have a team.”
Also looking forward to senior night are Katie Kosta, Kaley Scheppler, and Sonya Urban, whose sister Sasha was a senior on the 2017 NorCal title team.
San Marin graduated several players from its 2017 championship team after last season and the Mustangs start this season with a young roster, including sophomores Keeley Wright. Emma Bach, Sally Cesko and Simone Reynolds.
“San Marin has been on a winning streak the past three seasons, but losing all those talented girls was scary,” said Enslin, who is expected to be one of the squad’s leaders. “However, I went to a couple of open gyms and saw who the varsity team would be. The anxiety went away when I saw the talent and the chemistry on the court.
Enslin wants to pass on a message to the young players at San Marin: “Never give up. When I was a freshman, what I saw was the were girls so good and never quit no matter what. There were a lot of close games at the end of the season. There were a lot of games we could have lost. That team in 2017 was super-good at not letting the pressure get to them. They would always follow through. I always take that with me and push through calmly against pressure.”