CONCORD -- The Concord High girls volleyball team had a very good season in 2012. The Minutemen won 15 matches and reached the North Coast Section Division II playoffs.
But the 2013 season is starting to put last year to shame.
The Minutemen have already surpassed their win total from last year, and, entering this week, sat just a game out of first place, right behind defending champion Northgate.
Concord is one of two teams to take the Broncos to five sets, as the Diablo Valley Athletic League looks like it could be open for a new champion. The Minutemen played at Ygnacio Valley on Oct. 8, after this newspaper went to press, and at Berean Christian on Oct. 10.
"We are enjoying the fact that the league seems open," Concord coach Linda Draper said. "There doesn't seem to be a complete standout team and that makes everyone work that much harder."
Draper said this year's Concord team thrives on hard work and has found a certain chemistry with each other.
"This is a great group of girls who enjoys playing together and for each other," Draper said. "It's very different from any group I've ever had here at Concord. They are accountable, they enjoy being together and they push each other. It's a unique situation that any coach would enjoy."
The talented Minutemen are led by junior setter Mackenzie Draper. She had 29 assists and seven kills in a three-set win over College Park on Oct. 3, and had 308 assists entering this week, to go with 103 digs and a team-high 37 aces.
When Draper sets the ball, she usually does well when she finds leading hitter Pulotu Manoa, a senior who is one of the leaders along with senior libero Brianne Aronson.
However, the coach is quick to point out that the entire team plays a huge role and it is not one player that does it all for the Minutemen.
"We need every girl to play their game," Draper said. "We need them to give 100 percent, whether it be in the game, or at practice the night before because every girl is super important."
In her ninth season as varsity head coach and eleventh with the program, Draper and Concord have set high goals for themselves, but they are goals they are not sharing aloud. But you can imagine they are lofty.
"Our goals are exactly that. Ours," Draper said. "They don't need to be anyone else's but ours."