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2014 PCC Preview: A New Cast For Women's Volleyball

2014 PCC Preview: A New Cast For Women's Volleyball image

After last season's Cinderella run in the regional playoffs, the Pasadena City College women's volleyball team starts the 2014 season with practically a whole new lineup under second-year, interim head coach Bill Sanchez. 

The Lancers, ranked No. 14 in last year's final CCCWVCA State Top 25 poll, bring back just one player from the '13 team in defensive specialist/libero Saige Spence. She averaged 2.5 digs per set and totaled 36 digs in a 5-set loss to Orange Coast early last year. 

PCC will fill in veteran leadership with two transfers from Glendale College and another from East Los Angeles. Sabrina Takeuchi takes over the important libero position after averaging 4.07 digs a set last season for the Vaqueros. Megan Williams, originally from Oregon, is the Lancers' new starting setter. She was one of Glendale's two setters last year and averaged 2.94 assists. Williams should be one of the Lancers' top serving specialists as she led the Vaqueros with 37 aces and a 0.46 per set average.

At outside hitter, sophomore Amber Maldonado is an experienced sophomore who returns to the sport after last playing at ELAC in 2010. Redshirt freshman Carmina Ortiz (Azusa High), who played on the PCC badminton team earlier this year, is slated to be a starting outside hitter while newcomer Michelle Boyd (Verdugo HIlls High) is expected to be a starter at either the right side (RS) position or OH. Another right side candidate is Hailey Abdul-Malik (Monrovia High). 

PCC is hurt by the loss of its two 2013 All-South Coast Conference First Team middle hitters, Angela Banuelos and Kendra Logan, both who will not be academically eligible for this season. Despite the setback, the Lancers have discovered a duo that could be strongpoints in the middle in freshmen Chy'annea Hodges (Muir High) and Lahiz Longobardi (from Brazil). Even though she is new to the sport, Hodges has impressed the coaches, including assistants Kari Post and Jerry Checinksi, with her strength and raw blocking skills. The 5-foot-9 Hodges will also be a member of the PCC women's basketball team, her primary sport in high school.

The Lancers aren't expected to replace the power offense supplied by last year's All-Southern California Region outside hitter Nora To'omalatai, who earned a scholarship to Northwestern Oklahoma State University (expected to redshirt and play as a junior in 2015). However, Sanchez is hopeful that a different style will benefit the team.

"We're smaller, but I think more athletic and a better defensive team than last season," Sanchez said. "We're disappointed to not bring back the two middles, but Hodges is a tremendous athlete who could be impressive once she picks up some experience in early matches. We are going to work on conditioning and push the players to become a tight-knit unit on the floor."

The Lancers '14 roster is rounded out by freshmen in outside hitters Eugenia Mendez (Gladstone High) and Perla Mora (St. Genevieve), and defensive specialists Ruby Nguyen (Gabrielino) and Remington Moore (La Canada). 

PCC may add a few more players to the roster in the next few weeks, according to Sanchez.

The Lancers open the new season on Friday, Aug. 29 with a 5 p.m. match at Mt. San Jacinto College. They continue a tour in San Diego County with two matches at the Grossmont Quad Tournament on Saturday, Aug. 30. Pasadena faces Palomar in a 12 noon affair before facing last season's CCCAA State runner-up Grossmont at 4 p.m.

PCC's complete 2014 schedule is at the following link:

http://www.pasadena.edu/athletics/schedule.cfm?dept=volleyb

[File Photo--Saige Spence is the lone returning player on the 2014 Lancers roster.]
 

Release Date: 08/28/14
Robert Lewis, Sports Information
Phone: 626-585-7018, Email: rmlewis@pasadena.edu