News: Season Preview: To'omalatai Center of 2013 Women's Volleyball Attack
It's one thing to take over a women's volleyball program at the California Community College level as an interim head coach, but even more is at stake when the person inherits a perennial state top 10 team like Pasadena City College. That's the life of Bill Sanchez, a 5-time conference champion badminton coach for the Lancers, who took over the PCC volleyball team this season. He is filling in for South Coast Conference Co-Coach of the Year Tammy Silva, who is taking a sabbatical from coaching for the 2013-14 school year.
Sanchez made it clear that he is going to need to rely on a few of the returning sophomores from a 2012 PCC squad that shared the SCC title with El Camino. The Lancers went 21-5 last year, reaching the third round of regionals before being eliminated by eventual state champion Los Angeles Pierce.
"I relish the challenge of keeping the Lancers up there with the best in the state," Sanchez said. "We are fortunate to have a couple of outside hitters with experience, including an all-conference player like Nora To'omalatai. Thula Parks is going to also help with the leadership aspect on the floor. They both have a year of play under their belts and know now what it takes to be successful, playing with many great teammates a year ago. Nora is a great talent and we hope to make her our go-to player on offense."
To'omalatai (pronounced To-oh-mull-uh-tie) led the Lancers in kills last season with 254 and she also topped PCC in service aces with 47. The 5-foot-8, Monrovia High product posted a 3.02 kills average and .355 hitting percentage were among the leaders in the conference as a freshman.
On Friday, PCC opened up the 2013 season with two victories at the Rio Hondo Quad Tournament. The Lancers defeated host Rio Hondo in four games, 25-21, 22-25, 25-19, 25-18. PCC then rallied from a 2-1 games deficit in knocking off Victor Valley in five, 25-21, 21-25, 24-26, 25-12, 15-11.
In the VVC win, PCC responded to a loss in set 3 by roaring to a 13-point win in set 4 to send the match to a deciding fifth game. The Lancers never trailed in the final set and capped it with a Kendra Logan (5-10 freshman middle blocker from Maranatha High) block to give Sanchez his second collegiate volleyball head coaching win on his debut day in directing the sport at PCC.
"We showed resiliency in that Victor Valley match," Sanchez said. "You never know how you are going to respond when you fall behind. But we came out fired up for game 4, and pretty much carried the play the rest of the match. For me, it was good to just play a match because you don't see things clearly in practice. We need to keep working hard and hustling around that court."
To'omalatai pounded 23 kills while Parks (5-6, South Hills) added 16 kills and 20 digs in the VVC match. Against Rio Hondo, To'omalatai recorded a double-double with 18 kills and 10 digs to go with three aces. Parks had eight kills and four aces while returning player from 2011 Tiffany Roesler (5-9, Covina High) contributed 36 assists and five blocks at the setter spot. Roesler tallied four aces in the Victor Valley triumph.
Starter Briana Hilton (5-7 right-side hitter, Charter Oak), who recorded 12 kills in the two matches, and reserve Yvette Corral (5-7 opposite, Polytechnic) are the only other returning players on Sanchez roster.
So far out of the freshmen corps, Logan is joined by Angela Banuelos, a 5-8 middle blocker from Monrovia as key regulars in the Sanchez rotation. Banuelos totaled nine kills in the Victor Valley match after showing her blocking prowess v. Rio Hondo with seven blocks (two solos).
The rest of the Lancer' 2013 roster is made up of 5-4 libero Saige Spence (Pasadena HS), 5-4 defensive specialist Angelica Reyes (Covina), 5-7 outside hitter Alana Valdez (Rosemead), 5-1 defensive specialist Samantha Flores (Glendale Hoover), 5-5 setter Nancy Lopez (Rosemead), 5-4 defensive specialist Victoria Arreola (San Marino), 5-8 defensive specialist Karla Flores (Azusa), and 5-3 defensive specialist Monica Corral (Monrovia).
Sanchez has brought on Kari Post as an assistant coach. Post was a former star setter at West Virginia University after performing as the CIF Northern Section MVP while at Sutter Union High. Her mother, Thea Post, was a long-time head coach (now retired) at Yuba College. Last season, Post was an assistant on the Citrus College staff.
[Photo--Nora To'omalatai (12) makes an attack during PCC's win over Victor Valley Friday at the Rio Hondo College Quad Tournament, image by Richard Quinton, sports information photographer.]
Release Date: 09/07/2013