[Updated with corrections]
Not even the Los Angeles Lakers could pull off a four- peat, but the returning women’s volleyball champs like the odds while preparing to remain focus and continue to occupy newspaper headlines in the upcoming 2013 season.
Taking up an entire glass display case boasting their many accomplishments in the South Gym hall way, it’s hard not to see why this Pierce program continues to be successful.
Pierce has won the championship for three consecutive seasons, but it probably feels like decades for the opponents who are still waiting for their turn to hoist a championship trophy above their heads.
“We just know that everybody is out to get us,” said team captain Brittani Elser. “To take a fourth year away from them [opponents] we have to be really focused.”
In the 2012 season Pierce only dropped four sets, two in the regular season and two in the championship match against Fullerton College giving them a record of 33-0 over the last two seasons.
Their record holds true for various reasons, one being their accuracy as they led the Western State South Conference in hitting percentage at .306.
“It was the Brahmas beating the Brahmas,” said Elser. when referring to last season’s dropped sets. “Us not staying true to the system, errors, not calling out or talking the whole game.”
Elser who is listed as an opposite hitter and referred to by head coach Nabil Mardini as the defensive specialist, can play multiple positions at a high level even though she is relatively small in size.
“She makes it up with her heart and her effort,” said Mardini. “She brings a lot to the table, her leadership is unbelievable.”
The 2010 championship team only won with four sophomores, so Mardini has no doubt about his new squad despite losing opposite hitters Danetta Boykin and Sakurako Fujii.
Boykin signed on to become an Indiana Hoosier and Fujii looks to take on a professonal career overseas, leaving the left side of the court vulnerable for the Pierce squad.
“Whoever is going to play that position is going to have to fulfill big shoes,” said Nabil. “We had a good combination between one of the most powerful outside hitters in the state and one of the most craftiest in Sakurako.”
New recruit Jourdan Kadow is usually found playing two man beach volleyball but packed up her things to join a team that she believes represents a winning tradition.
“Knowing that they have been winning all these years means that they are doing something right,” said Kadow. “I watched one of their playoff games last season and I think I can bring my versatility and leadership to this team.”
Nabil credits some of the team’s success to playing one game at a time and staying humble regardless of the record they hold.
According to Nabil the team never talks about winning or brags about their success. They only talk about progressing every day as volleyball players.
“The principles are the principles and the methods don’t change much,” said Nabil. “I’ll put it this way, an ego is a very disruptive thing.”