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High expectations for PC volleyball
Expectations are always high for the Porterville College volleyball team. But there’s no denying that this season those high expecations are merited and PC coach Dale Henderson isn’t shying away from the lofty goals.
“Oh yes, you know it,” said Henderson when asked about his program having high expectations. “As always our goal is to be No. 1.”
To be No. 1 means to win the Central Valley Conference title, something that PC hasn’t been able to do under Henderson as its never been able to beat Fresno City. The Pirates did come as close as ever last season, but still fell twice to Fresno as the Rams again win the CVC crown. But it was still a successful season for PC, which went 12-2 in the CVC and advanced to the state playoffs. With a strong nucleus coming back from that team and a strong recruiting class, Henderson obviously figures to again challenge Fresno for the conference title. “We had a great summer, great recruiting,” Henderson said.
About Fresno, Henderson said, “they’ll be a challenge, always. They said they had a great recruiting class also.” But Henderson added, “I think we’re taller than them this year. That’s a plus.”
So the goal is to finally knock off Fresno and win the CVC, thus earning a home match in the state playoffs. Henderson said that the work his players put in during the summer with trainer Mike Davis and the addition of new assistant coach Job Lara, who comes to PC from Strathmore where he served as the head coach, and the continued work of assistant coach Sylvia Ramirez, who has been in the program as a coach and player for several years now, is making it more possible for his team to reach that goal. Here’s a look at this year’s Pirates:
Amanda Monge — A returning all-conference first team performer, the middle blocker is being recruiting heavily by numerous colleges. Henderson said he expects Monge to finish in the state’s top 10 this year in virtually every statistical category.
Allison Clem — The Monache graduate is another returing all-conference player and is making the transition from middle blocker to right side hitter. “She has really an excellent block over there,” Henderson said.
Kacey Markarian — Another returning all-conference player, Markarian has made the transition from an outside hitter to the libero position where she will be a defensive specialist.
Samantha Sawyer – The freshman has stepped in to take over as the team’s setter. “I’ll predict that she’ll be an all-conference player this year,” Henderson said. “She’s the quarterback of this team.”
Nayeli Colunga — Henderson said the Strathmore graduate passed up a full-ride scholarship to play soccer at Cal State Bakersfield and a half scholarship to play volleyball at Fresno Pacific to come to PC where she’ll be an outside hitter. “I’ll predict that she’ll be an all-conference player this year also, first team,” Henderson said.
Taylor Ball — Ball played softball for PC last spring and now has joined the volleyball team where she’s expected to play a key role as an outside hitter.
Danielle Carrillo — Another returner from last year, Carillo is expected to play a key role as an outside hitter as well.
Myra Moreno — The Strathmore graduate is another returner from last year. At only 5-6, her verticle jump allows her to be a weapon as a middle blocker for PC.
Laura Jaggers — Jaggers redshirted last year and is in her third year in the program. She will be the backup setter and a defensive specialist. “Laura is probably the hardest worker in practice,” Henderson said.
Kristine Lopez — She’s challenging Clem for playing time at right side hitter. “She’s really, really pushing Allison Clem,” Henderson said.
Lennea Fraser — She will be another middle blocker.
Samantha Gutierrez — The athletic freshman from Porterville High will be an outside hitter and a defensive specialist.
Nadya Kasimoff — The freshman from Monache will be a defensive specialist.
La Tisha Carballo — Carballo is another defensive specialist.