Coaches: Amanda Donaldson (head coach), Katie Pascoe (assistant coach), Jane Paul (JV coach) and Allison Wong (frosh-soph coach)
Top returning players: Kayla Cho (12), Callie Koehn (12) and Maddie Rumenap (11)
Outlook: The Lady Lancers aim to push for a Freeway League title after ending last season in third place and a berth in the CIF playoffs in which they were eliminated during the first round.
“The team this season is so fun to coach,” Donaldson said. “This group just loves volleyball, and you can definitely tell by their work ethic.”
The girls have been practicing since the beginning of summer and follow a strict schedule during the school year.
“We practice every weekday from 3:30 to 6 p.m. and morning practices on no school days,” said middle blocker junior Marlena Martinez, who is in her first year on the varsity squad.
At practice the girls do serving drills, hitting and passing, while squeezing in conditioning or weight lifting and a game at the end of practice. The girls opened their preseason Aug. 20 with a clutch 3-2 away win over Crean Lutheran High School.
The Lady Lancers then won the Silver Division at the Portola Tournament from Aug. 30-31.
“I was super stoked,” said setter and defensive specialist junior Jenna Beining, a first-year member of the varsity squad. “It was really cool to see our team come together and rise to the occasion by beating teams such as Costa Mesa. Our team is often shorter than other teams and is viewed as the underdog, but this time we were more prepared.”
But with such success, the Lady Lancers struggled with a four-match losing streak, the most recent defeat coming in a Sept. 4 home match against El Modena High School.
Nearly a week later in a Sept. 10 home match, the Lady Lancers found their form and bounced back with a 3-0 victory against Bonita High School.
“This game was a great breakthrough match for us,” Donaldson said. “Even though we have dealt with some injuries with two starters, we aren’t letting that stop us or bring us down.”
Since summer, the girls have blossomed and can’t wait for Freeway League play.
“We got a clean sweep yesterday; it made a big impact,” said defensive specialist Koehn, who has been on the team since her junior year. “Our team is improving a lot, and we are getting stronger and stronger each and every day.”
The team’s Freeway League opener will be at home Sept. 16 against Sonora High School, and Donaldson is asking Lancers to pack the gym to show their support.
“We would love to have that Lancer pride in the gym,” the coach said. “So come out, get rowdy and cheer us [Lady] Lancers on!”