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The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

The official student news site of Dougherty Valley High School.

The Wildcat Tribune

Returning coach inspires varsity womens volleyball team

Abigail Kapur
Sophomore Violet Bothwell leaps to joust for the ball against Foothill.

Former varsity womens volleyball head coach Jennifer Cincotta stepped up to take on the role once more this season when the previous head coach, Regina Conley, left. Cincotta had coached Dougherty’s varsity women’s volleyball team from 2008 to 2018, coming back for a brief stint during the 2021 season, which was shortened due to COVID restrictions.

“They just needed someone to help finish the season, and I love volleyball,” Cincotta said. “I know that if I wasn’t able to finish my high school career, I’d be really disappointed. I didn’t want the girls on the team to experience that.” 

Cincotta started coaching in the middle of the season, right before the team defeated Livermore High School on Sept. 26. The Wildcats ended the season with one win and 11 losses, ranked ninth out of the 10 teams in the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL).

“I’m less concerned about wins and losses, but more about their efforts,” Cincotta said. “I want to see more confidence and energy because you don’t have to have any skill to have energy and resiliency.”

Before coaching at Dougherty, Cincotta played volleyball at Campolindo High School. She also competed at the collegiate level at UC San Diego. Her volleyball background, as well as experience with Dougherty’s team, led her to notice a couple differences when she returned to coach the Wildcats once again. 

Senior Chloe Owyang warms up before the game against Foothill on Oct. 12. (Abigail Kapur)

“When I coached before, I had been doing it for so long that I developed a really strong program that had a lot of identity. We had really firm expectations, commitment and belief in ourselves,” Cincotta said. ”What I’ve noticed in the short time that I have been with them is that they lack as much confidence and belief in themselves.”

Senior Dilara Caglar, one of the team captains, also saw issues with the team’s mindset. With a stumbling start to their season, players began to lose motivation.

“There was a previous idea that [because] we are a Dougherty team, we aren’t that great,” Caglar said. “We weren’t seeing any results, [and] no one believed that we could improve.”

When Cincotta resumed coaching, Caglar noticed that the team’s performance and outlook improved. From being more interactive with the players to expecting more from them during the practices and games, Cincotta brought a different form of training to the team. 

“Cincotta is always giving feedback [and] improving the overall energy of the practices, [which] resulted in an improvement in the dynamic and cohesion of the team,” Caglar said.

Junior captain Kayla Young serves. (Abigail Kapur)

The Wildcats faced their rivals, Dublin High School, in the last game of the season on Oct. 17. Cincotta and the athletes went into the rivalry game with anticipation and excitement, especially since Dublin was close in the rankings, coming in right above Dougherty at eighth in the EBAL.

The Wildcats won the first set, fighting hard against the Gaels, before falling in the next two. The loss marked the end of their season. But despite the team’s losses, junior captain Kayla Young finds a silver lining due to Cincotta’s coaching. 

“Every time I lost, I was motivated to get better the next time,” she said. “And even though we were the underdogs, even if we didn’t win as much, it kept me motivated to keep on showing up to practice like I still had to be the best, especially with the new coach.”

Although improving their record was one of the team’s main goals, the players also wanted to strengthen their bond as a team.

“As [a] captain, I want to inspire my own teammates and push them in a way similar to Cincotta,” Caglar said. “As a team, I want to see them grow into themselves and their teammates and foster their relationships.”

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About the Contributors
Abby Kapur
Abby Kapur, Sports Editor
Abby joined the Wildcat Tribune on a whim and stayed for the wonderful people she found. Her goal for this year is to leave the sports section better than it used to be. In her free time, Abby loves to run with her team, get coffee with her friends, and bake with her sister. A fun fact about Abby is that she has watched her favorite movie, Knives Out, at least seven times. If Abby could be anybody on the Tribune, she'd be Luna (past Tribune member), because of the unique, attentive way she sees the world.
Timothy Zhang
Timothy Zhang, Staff Writer
Timothy joined the Tribune because he wanted to be a part of something at Dougherty Valley, and he was interested in the process of producing news. His goal this year is to write about unique topics yet to be seen. Timothy likes playing volleyball and going to the gym. If he could be anyone else on the Tribune, he would want to be a sports editor because he wants to dedicate himself to covering sports and he really likes sports as a topic.

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