The Lady Vaqueros Volleyball team is getting ready to lace up their shoes for an exciting season season of blocks, sets and kills
With few returning players and a lot of new members, the team, led by head Coach Yvette Ybarra and assistant coaches Maria Olilang and Lucinda Bucan, is devising a new start this year in the Western State Conference.
They want to come out strong and make a bold statement and feel that this is the year to prove it.
After a mediocre last season with a final record of 9-13, the Lady Vaqs have a whole new mentality. The women are recognized for their aggressive offense with the toughness to put up scores, but struggle on the defensive side of the ball. Both coaches and the players are taking all the necessary steps towards developing a consistent defensive plan.
“I believe in defense 100 percent. If you can frustrate people, play good defense and block some balls you’re going to be in that game. no matter what,” said Ybarra.
The Lady Vaqs are known to have a few big hitters. In the past the women have managed to dig the ball up and give the setter a great scoring chance yet, failed to finish with the score. This year they’re psychologically prepared and tactically improved.
Aya Nakano was Glendale’s big loss for the season. The high spirited outside hitter concluded her stay at GCC and transferred to Whittier College.
Returning sophomores for Glendale include outside hitter Carrisa Mathijssen, middle blocker Ashleigh Diller, outside hitter/opposite Ashliy Veliz and setter Alyssa Rosca, who played for the Lady Vaqs in 2003 and has a reputation for being consistent on the court.
In addition to the latest players on the roster this year, freshman outside hitter Jessica Alvarez joined the team as a transfer student from Pierce College, which is defending conference champion.
With the loss of one key player and the addition of a few new faces the Lady Vaqueros have shifted their approach to a “no mercy” style of play.
“These girls tend to be more serious,” Ybarra said. Glendale shares the south division of the conference with College of the Canyons, West LA, Citrus, Bakersfield, Santa Monica and Pierce College.
The Vaqueros look forward to clashing heads with all of the talented athletes the colleges have to offer, especially when it comes to Canyons or Pierce.
“I see all of them as a threat. Pierce College because they’re always number one, College of the Canyons because there’s always that friendly rivalry” said Ybarra, who has also changed her approach to the game strategically both on and off the court.
“I always look for successes, and I always tell the girls its not always about winning, its how you feel once you leave that court.”
In the past the Lady Vaqs have struggled to get into the playoffs. Now that injuries aren’t an issue and the players’ confidence are in tact, the girls are going to play each team game by game and work on improving their passing and blocking.
Sophomore Ashliy Veliz will play as outside hitter/opposite for the team this season. She knows how to put the ball up and strike it down, yet she realizes the importance of moving the ball to open up scoring opportunities. “We just need to pass the ball, if we pass the ball we wont get that set and kill,” said Veliz.
The Vaqueros open up round one of WSC with an away game Tuesday Sept. 29 at Bakersfield College following a home game against Citrus College Oct. 2. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.