Christian Brothers High School is serving up winning opportunities on and off the court this season.
The Bee's No. 3-ranked team has been competing at a high level while playing a brutal non-league schedule. But what the team did away from the court Friday might have been its most inspirational time together.
CBS played Saturday in the inaugural Serve It Up Founders Classic, a four-team round-robin tournament hosted by state power Sacred Heart Cathedral in San Francisco.
On Friday, players from the participating schools, including St. Mary's of Berkeley and La Salle Catholic of Oregon, merged to volunteer for non-profit organizations throughout San Francisco.
"It was a pretty cool cause," CBS coach Diane Heine said. "The girls did service learning at various locations in the city."
The players created keepsakes for a foster care facility. They visited veterans, taught volleyball at a YMCA, cleaned a playground and prepared meals for work groups and the homeless in San Francisco's Tenderloin district.
On the court, CBS defeated La Salle and St. Mary's before falling to Sacred Heart in the final.
Before the tournament, the Falcons (13-4) won six of their previous seven matches against local teams, all ranked in The Bee's Top 20. CBS' tough schedule continues tonight at No. 14 Monterey Trail, and the Falcons open Capital Valley Conference action Wednesday at home against No. 7 Oakmont.
"Our competitive preseason has prepared us for league play," Heine said. "The girls are playing with confidence and continue to gel and trust each other."
CBS is led by 2012 All-Metro second-team setter Nastassja Bowman. The junior is playing more at the net and leads the Falcons with 2.5 kills per set. Along with senior Jaymee-Lee Bulda (300 assists), CBS is reaping the benefit of the return of senior outside hitter Iris Anderson, who averages 2.1 kills. Anderson had knee surgery before last season and did not play.
The Falcons are young with freshmen Paloma Bowman and Ryann Thomison and sophomores Elizabeth Robinson and Ashlynn Fresques. Anderson's leadership has been immeasurable for Heine.
"Having Iris Anderson back is huge for us," Heine said. "She is a great mentor to our young players and such a rock on the court."
SFL or SEC? Sierra Foothill League play begins this week, and there will be no easy nights.
Four of The Bee's top six teams are in the SFL. Tonight, top-ranked Granite Bay plays at No. 6 Roseville, and No. 5 Nevada Union is at No. 4 Rocklin. On Wednesday, Nevada Union is at Granite Bay.
"We have one of the toughest leagues out there," Roseville senior outside hitter Jayme Lee said. "It will be exciting. We have really good competition."
Contact Trevor Horn at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @trevhorn.