After falling short of the state championship for the past three years, the women’s volleyball program prepares for a rebuilding season.
The Brahmas enter this season with a brand new coaching staff and a revamped team with only three returning players from last year.
Women’s volleyball last year ended with a 23-8 overall record, losing to the San Diego City College Knights in five sets. They went undefeated in conference play finishing 8-0.
New head coach, Edison Zhou, is a former Olympian with sixteen years of professional experience. He is prepared to change the culture and input a winning mindset into this year’s team. Zhou made it clear that the girls have improved drastically from the start of training to now.
“I think we are good,” Zhou said. “We got so much better from the beginning. They work extremely hard.”
A new head coach also brings in a new assistant coach. Meaghan Wheeler is a former outside hitter at Farleigh Dickinson University where she finished as the all-time kills leader in school history and was nationally ranked 8th in kills per set as a junior.
Wheeler is ready to help develop the new team and set the right standard as she begins her coaching career at Pierce.
“I’m hoping that everybody improves their skill and were really preparing for the next few seasons,” Wheeler said. “It’s going to take a few years to really develop the right standard here.”
Women’s volleyball has been given a late start to their season. While other colleges have already started, the Brahmas begin on September 26.
According to Wheeler, this has only been taken in a positive light because it provides them with more time to prepare and train for the grind of the season.
“It’s affecting the team in a positive way,” Wheeler said. “We are able to do a little more preparation and have more practice time here and also do a little more physical training leading up to our first match. The only thing that is negative would be that we are not getting the game time exposure before conference matches start.”
Wheeler and Zhou are relying on their team captains, Catelynn Pulido and Rachel Wiley, for a veteran presence and leadership throughout the season.
Pulido and Wiley are two of the three returning players on the team.
“We are going to rely on their offense and overall energy because that’s what they bring to the team,”Wheeler said. “It’s helping our new players who are new to this kind of environment know where to be and know what to expect.”
As one of the team captains, Pulido is focused on helping this team to be competitive in every match. Despite having plenty of new faces around her, she still wants the team to be unified and have high energy.
“If we can get each game to be competitive and head-to-head, I would be proud of this team,” Pulido said. “Just to have our skills improve and have our energy as a team as one.”
In the offseason, Pulido was focused on fine-tuning certain aspects of her game along with her vertical jump.
“My strength was there but not being able to jump over the net limits the opportunity to be able to hit line and the angles I would want,” Pulido said.
Lindsey Saavedra, libero, is one of the new faces on the team this year. She is determined to leave her mark this season through her effort, her dedication and her consistent attendance at practice.
“If you miss practice, you miss a lot,” Saavedra said.
The Brahmas begin their 2018 season on Wednesday with a conference matchup against Moorpark College who is currently on a seven-game win streak. Game is scheduled to start at 6 p.m.