Corsair Volleyball Pillages West L.A.
Before the game started, Corsair captain Rebecca Chase knew the game would be an easy win. "This is their first year in the program," Chase said. "Not to mention their starting setter played here last year and she was a red shirt."
"I'm just learning to deal with having girls that don't know how to play volleyball," Nicole Moreno West L.A. captain and former SMC player said. "It's very [frustrating] especially with all the losses."
The West L.A. women's volleyball program started this year after a five-year hiatus. The main objective for Branden Higa, the West L.A. women's volleyball coach, this season was finding players. "We just needed to fill a team," Higa said. "Half of them have experience, half of them don't."
Even though their record is poor, Higa sees his team's situation from a optimistic perspective. "Other teams have thousands of more repetitions at the game of volleyball," Higa said. West L.A.'s coveted win was against Los Angeles Trade Tech, a second year program.
"I'll take what I get," Higa said. "It was huge for us." The women on West L.A. are committed despite their tough season. "I admire them for sticking with it," Higa said. "We haven't had anyone quit."
The Corsair's season hasn't been all kills and aces either. "We're still not doing a lot of winning," Chase said, "I want to get some [wins] on the board and not just schools like West L.A."
Overall, the Corsairs have made headway getting players suited up for college level competition. There are only two returning players for SMC. "They're losing that sort of 'I'm nervous' at the start of the match," Nicole Ryan, SMC women's volleyball coach said. "They're starting to understand what it means to compete at this level."
Chase partially agreed with Ryan. "The nerves have definitely gone down, in terms of performance anxiety," Chase said. "But the pace is still different for a lot of them."
Freshman player Kim Galdamez doesn't focus on the team's youth. "If we start thinking about our [previous] experience and stuff like that it sets us back. So we just have to come out wanting it."
Whether or not the players think about their inexperience, playing in college is harder. "It's quicker sets and you have to block more quickly," Chase said. "We're working on being in the right place fast enough."
During a time out, SMC women's volleyball coach Nicole Ryan verbally chastised two players over defensive positioning. "[It was about] expecting the free ball coming over," Ryan said. "That first pass is crucial for us to run our offense."
Nonetheless, Ryan was happy with her team's performance. "There were things we could have done better throughout the game," Ryan said. "But overall I'm pleased with our progress; we got it done."
Ryan has practical ambitions for the remainder of the season. "I'd be really really happy with a third or fourth place finish. You know middle of the pack would be really good for these girls. Despite our wins and loss record I really feel like they've really worked hard."