Oliviah Clark sets the ball during Magdalena’s inagural Alumni Volleyball Tournament on Saturday.
Russell Huffman | El Defensor Chieftain

Magdalena’s gym was jam-packed on July 29 as the inaugural Steers Alumni Volleyball Tournament drew 10 teams to match up against each other and the current varsity and JV teams.

It was all about fun, with fundraising for the upcoming season the priority, and it was a chance for new head coach Micheon Shellhorn to test her team against “experienced” competition from their hometown and surrounding area.

“The girls are growing into the game and finding our spots. We are seeing where everybody fits and they’re learning,” Shellhorn said. “I think from the first day we came into the gym until now, I think we’ve improved immensely. We just need to work on playing with the ball instead of waiting and trusting each other to do our jobs.”

While Magdalena has had alumni games in the past, this was the first alum tournament where past teams and those out of the community could take part, and the move was met with enthusiasm by those taking part.

“I think we’re just excited to play again, together again,” Michaela Zamora said. “We still flow very good together, but we are definitely out of shape. But you can tell we’ve been playing together for years. It’s been five years since we played together, and we still move together really well.”

Zamora and some of her former teammates Juliana Bustamante, Nicole McKinley, Hannah Castanon, Desirae Zamora and Melique Vinyard starred for Magdalena and the “Has Beens” took both varsity and JV to task before eventually falling into the consolation bracket.

Vinyard likes what she sees from the 2023 Steers squad.

“I think their strengths are they’re all at the same level, and they’re growing up together. I think their strength is becoming a family — like us, and they need to realize that’s what it will take to get there,” she said.

After lots of practice and a couple of road trips, Shellhorn likes what she sees on the court.

“We’ve improved in everything. We’ve gone to a couple of scrimmages. We went to Hatch. We went to Capitan. We’re winning some games. We’re competing, and we’re rallying back,” Shellhorn said. “There were times when we scored 8-10 points in a row, and that’s what we want. We want to take those big strides. They’re coming along so well. We’re getting up and blocking. We’re using our middles. Things are coming together,” Shellhorn said.