Undefeated Gold Team Heads to League Playoffs

It’s well-known among local sports fans that volleyball is the premier sport at Mount Madonna School (MMS). Students, some as young as third grade, join and compete on MMS middle school teams; and these young athletes watchfully keeping their eyes on the taller nets and hard-hitting matches that junior varsity and varsity players face in high school. MMS has a combined middle and high of about 115 students, with an impressive average of 35-45% of students playing on one of the eight Hawks’ volleyball teams each year.

The current middle school girls Gold Team, comprised of third through sixth grade students, is undefeated with an 11-0 record! This team is currently seeded first overall, and has already won the East Division of the Silicon Valley Athletic League (SVAL). Their next match, as part of the SVAL playoffs, is on Wednesday, November 13 at 4:30pm at St. Thomas Moore School in San Jose. Come on out and cheer on these determined Hawks athletes!

‘This team’s hard work and dedication to each other and the sport have brought them to this point,’ commented Gold Team Coach Tina Pendleton. ‘These girls have been practicing together four times a week since mid-August. They have great passing technique and are quite competitive.’

Pendleton emphasizes basic skills at during every practice, including correct ‘platform’ hand and arm position, serving, hitting and other drills. She says that 8th grader Zac Clark — who has a powerful overhand serve — has been a ‘huge help’ in working with the team. The Gold Team has also scrimmaged other MMS teams, including the girls JV and varsity.

‘I’ve shown and expected things out of them that aren’t usually expected from 10 and 11-year-olds, like 3-hit volleyball for example,’ explained Pendleton. ‘Because they didn’t even know that they shouldn’t be able to play like this at this age, it never crossed their minds that they couldn’t do it. Instead, they’ve focused, worked hard, and now have an amazing season of achievements. They came to me with the cup half full, and I helped them to fill it!’

In October the Gold Team players and their families attended a Stanford women’s volleyball match, a great team bonding experience.

‘I think all girls and families were impressed with the amazing ability of both the Stanford and Utah teams,’ commented parent Nanette Hardin following the match. ‘Their teamwork, focus and powerful grace were all outstanding. The MMS Gold team was riveted by the level and intensity of the game. The women of Stanford volleyball were inspiring to watch: smart, strong, healthy, energetic and confident, and ideal role models for these promising MMS athletes.  A great game, culminating in a Cardinal victory, was followed by a short meet and greet with Stanford players Merete Lutz and Grace Kennedy who signed posters, posed for photos and wished the Gold team continued luck on their (so far) undefeated season!”


Contact: Leigh Ann Clifton, Marketing & Communications,

Nestled among the redwoods on 355 mountaintop acres, Mount Madonna is a safe and nurturing college-preparatory school that supports students in becoming caring, self-aware and articulate critical thinkers, who are prepared to meet challenges with perseverance, creativity and integrity. The CAIS and WASC accredited program emphasizes academic excellence, creative self-expression and positive character development. Located on Summit Road between Gilroy and Watsonville.

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