Champs attempt to repeat state win

After winning a state championship last year, the Pierce College Women’s Volleyball team will have big targets on their backs as they try to repeat as champs.

Last year’s state title was the first in Pierce College history for the women’s team.

The closest they ever got to winning a state championship prior to winning it this year was in 2006, where they were runner-ups to Orange Coast College.

“Last year’s team had good athletes, and bonded very well together,” said Athletic Director Bob Lofrano.  “Every team will be gunning to knock them off.”

The women’s volleyball team have been the Western State Conference Champs nine of the past 10 years, and the one year they weren’t was in 2009 where they were stung by the injury bug.

“Women’s volleyball is an example of continued success,” said Lofrano.

Head coach Nabil Mardini and his players have won 217 games and only lost 50 over the past ten years.

“Everyone is going to play their best games against us, no matter the record they have,” said Mardini, who is National Coach of the Year.

This team is losing some key starters from last semester’s championship squad this year.

“You are basically coaching a new team every year, because you only have these players for a year or two,” said Lofrano.

Some of the players that are leaving this year’s team include National Player of the Year, Sarah Martin, and All-Conference performer, Samantha Potter.

“All the players that left played a big part on the state team,” said Mardini.

Pierce will be expecting a lot out of their returning starters and players, as well as a highly touted recruiting class to help them repeat this fall.

“Some of these girls had nothing to do with last year’s state team, but it’s Pierce women’s volleyball, so beating them will feel like they won game 7 of the world series,” said Lofrano.  “But in reality, they beat a team with half their starters that were just in High school last year.”

Some of the returning players like Jasmine Levi, Cassandra Delacruz, and Kathleen Wright are expected to step up and become leaders of this team.

“All the freshman that played big minutes last year, I expect them to step up this year,” said Mardini.

The much talked about recruiting class includes players Janelle Futch, Danetta Boykin, and Brooke Dawson.

“I am very excited about this recruiting class that is coming in; it will help out a lot,” said Mardini.

Coach Mardini doesn’t want this team to slack off cause they won it all last year.

“Some people get hit with the lazy bug, thinking it will be easy again: winning a championship,” said Mardini.  “You have to come to the gym and work harder than last year’s team.”

Players like Jasmine Levi also believe in this concept.

“We all defiantly need to be on the same page when it comes to making the needed sacrifices and putting the team first, which is all about working for and with each other and never caring who gets credit,” said Levi.  “There’s no doubt that we will give all of our effort everyday, on and off the court.”