No ring rust for defending state champs
The Pierce College women’s volleyball team opened this season by winning three matches at last Friday’s Modesto Invitational Tournament, extending their 34-match winning streak that dates back to last year’s undefeated State Championship squad.
The Modesto Invitaional Tournament hosted eight teams, with Pierce winning all three of their matches without losing a single game.
The Brahmas defeated the Skyline College Trojans (25‐15, 25‐15, 25‐9), the West Hills College Golden Eagles (25‐9, 25‐14, 25‐8), and, in the finals, the Porterville College Pirates (25‐12, 25‐14, 25‐21).
Sophomore 2011 All-State and First-Team All-Conference outside hitter Danetta Boykin racked up 16 kills against the Porterville and 30 kills total in the tournament.
Freshman Ashlea Smith scored 12 kills against Porterville in the finals as well.
Team co-captains Danielle Hochman and Brooke Dawson had 16 digs against West Hills and 17 digs against Skyline, respectively.
Sophomore 2011 Second-Team All-Conference setter Janelle Futch picked up 32 assists in the match against Porterville.
Notably, Lindsay Maxoutopoulis pulled off a hitting average of 0.500 over the three matches.
The tournament marked the beginning of Coach Nabil Mardini’s twelfth year of coaching and Assistant Coach Casey Riedel’s fifth.
They, along with Assistant Coach Angela Hupp, intend to lead the team of 6 sophomores, fourteen new players, and a handful of redshirts to a state championship three-peat.
“The ultimate goal is to win the state championship,” Mardini said.
Mardini believes in success on and off the court for the seemingly unstoppable squad.
“You have my assurances that a great deal of thought, measurement, and time goes into preparing our players to meet their potential both as individuals, and as a team,” Mardini said in a statement on Pierce’s website.
Mardini requires his players to register for 15 units while on his team, 3 more than is regularly required for athletic eligibility.
“That way, you can drop if you need to,” Mardini said. “It’s good to give yourself a little more room.”
Becoming this season’s champions would make the Brahmas the second team to ever win three consecutive state championships for women’s volleyball, the first being the Golden West Rustlers who won 12 straight state championships from 1993 to 2004.
Next up for the Brahmas is Pierce’s Second Annual Quad Tournament where they’ll be taking on the San Bernardino Wolverines and the Mesa Olympians.
The team’s first game starts at 2 p.m. this Friday at Pierce’s own South Gym.
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