Redwood’s Alana Montgomery captures 700th career victory

With Redwood’s win over Monache, Redwood head coach Alana Montgomery earned the 700th victory over her career.(Kason Clark)

Montgomery earns this milestone victory as Redwood defeats Monache in three sets; Rangers also remain hot this season with a 29-5 overall record and an 8-0 mark in the East Yosemite League

VISALIA – Alana Montgomery has been a mainstay in high school volleyball in the Central Valley for 33 years. During that time, the head coach has led Exeter volleyball, and now Redwood volleyball, to high levels of success.

That success culminated on Wednesday night, Oct. 11, when she had the opportunity to win the 700th match of her head coaching career. And at home against the Monache Marauders, the Rangers got her that victory as they took care of business in three sets (25-10, 25-21, 25-17).

After the match, former and current players for Montgomery came together to congratulate her and celebrate her achievement. Getting to see her players from over the years was a welcome surprise for Montgomery, especially since she had not been keeping track of her career wins heading into the match.

“I felt great, but I had no idea,” Montgomery said about the milestone victory. “It felt so awesome. Having so many players and past parents take time to come to this surprise celebration is very humbling.”

Montgomery’s long road to 700 career wins began in 1990 when she took over coaching duties for the Exeter Monarchs. And across two separate stints from 1990-94 and then 1999-2012, Montgomery racked up the wins as the Monarchs won 11 league championships.

During her 19 years leading the Monarchs, Montgomery and her teams went to 11 CIF Section Championship games and won six of them. For her accomplishments, Montgomery was inducted into the Exeter High School Coaches Hall of Fame.

Christie Oates played for Montgomery in Exeter volleyball back in the early 90s and she has continued to work with her former coach as an assistant for Redwood volleyball. Over the course of her 16 years playing and coaching with Montgomery, Oates has seen Montgomery’s impact on her athletes.

“It’s been great coaching with her because she’s such an example on how to mentor young athletes,” Oates said. “How to nurture them, how to do good things with them and to support them and help them in their goals.”

In 2013, Montgomery took over the Redwood Rangers and has had even more success. The Rangers have won six league championships since she took over, including three straight years going undefeated in league. The Rangers’ success under Montgomery has also helped the program move up from Division III to Division I.

But Montgomery’s success and impact is not just limited to on the court. Over the years, Montgomery has made many connections with her players, coaches and others in the community.

“The great thing about working with Alana and playing with Alana is that she’s such a genuinely honest, good person,” Oates said. “That shows all the way down through her program, her personal life and then with the staff as well.”

“Each year, I feel like we’ve progressed and have grown a strong relationship with each other,” Redwood senior Kennedy Cutler said. “Just because I’m a senior and I’ve been with her for many years, we’ve just grown a bond. I trust her and she trusts me.”

This fall, the Rangers are having another strong season under Montgomery with an overall record of 29-5 and an 8-0 record in the East Yosemite League. This squad is led by many seniors, including Cutler, who was happy to be part of the class that helped Montgomery reach the 700-win milestone.

“It’s an honor to be on the team with her because that’s not something that usually happens for a coach and it’s just really nice,” Cutler said. “I’m so glad she got to be a part of it with this team, especially because we all just love each other and we love her.”

Cutler made a big impact in the win over Monache, as she led Redwood with 15 kills and she recorded eight digs. Fellow senior Ashlyn Guenter also played well with 11 kills and five blocks in the big win for the Rangers and Montgomery.

Looking to get Montgomery her milestone win, the Rangers dominated the first set to win, 25-9, for a 1-0 lead in the match. The Marauders played more competitively in the second set but the Rangers finished strong to win, 25-21, for a 2-0 lead on the night.

The Rangers and Marauders went back and forth in the third as the Rangers eked out a 13-12 lead. The Rangers began to build out their lead, but the Marauders came back to cut their deficit to 21-17. However, the Rangers once again finished strong to win, 25-17, to give Montgomery the coveted victory.

With just a few weeks left in the regular season, the Rangers will be looking to win some more games for Montgomery. While she is looking towards another strong finish to the year, winning her 700th career game has given Montgomery a chance to reflect on her many years coaching high school volleyball in the Central Valley.

“I have been coaching volleyball for so long that I can’t imagine my life any other way,” Montgomery said. “Especially sharing it with my husband Bruce for so many years. I’ve also had some great friendships grow from my time coaching.”

Start typing and press Enter to search