Volleyball scholarships

Morgan Liggera

Three women’s volleyball players have been awarded scholarships: Ashley Lugo-Brown, Terra Henn and Jenna Novelli. Lugo-Brown will be attending Cal State Long Beach in the fall, Novelli is already attending Truman State University in Missouri and Henn is deciding between scholarships to Cal Poly Pomona, Cal State Chico, University of Louisiana and Wayland Baptist in Texas.”I cried for 20 minutes straight,” Lugo-Brown said about receiving the call in February from CSULB and finding out she was getting a scholarship. She had contacted the head coach at CSULB last summer, but he had initially turned her down, saying that if she chose to attend, she could possibly receive a scholarship for a second year there. Fortunately for Lugo-Brown, she was able to change their minds. Henn is deciding between four scholarships, and one thing influencing her decision is whether she will be close to her family. The closest to home would be Cal Poly Pomona, though she has not yet made her visit to the other three schools.She lives in Palmdale with her family, which she said has been crucial to her success.”That would mean the most to me for [my family] to witness the dream they helped me achieve,” said Henn. “They gave up anything and everything so I could have anything and everything,” she said.After Lugo-Brown graduated high school in 2005 in her hometown of Deltona, Fla., she moved to Los Angeles to be with her father. She didn’t play volleyball for two years, but when she began attending Pierce in 2006, Brahmas head coach Nabil Mardini asked her to play when he spotted her on campus with her Florida club volleyball backpack.The Brahmas have a history of success; in the past four years, 10 out of 12 graduating women’s players have been awarded scholarships.The Brahmas have won seven consecutive State Conference championships, beginning with a turnaround season in 2001 in which they came back from last place.Mardini is coaching his ninth season, and his strategy for success is nothing more than hard work.”People call me a workaholic,” Mardini said. “I don’t know what that is. I just work until I get it right.”Mardini said some players leave the team because it’s not the right place for them, but those that stay agree with his desire for perfection.”Nabil taught me a lot about volleyball,” said Lugo-Brown. “He made me appreciate being there and knowing what it means to be a teammate.”Mardini has the utmost respect and passion for what he does, according to Henn, and his coaching has benefited the players greatly.”He taught me a lot about myself, on and off the court,” said Henn. “I feel honored to call myself a Brahma.”