(Walnut, CA) With the 2019 Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball in full swing, this years' team has a well-balanced mixture of veterans and newcomers.
Seven players return from the 2018 season, which qualified for the CCCAA South Regional Playoffs as they won five of their last six matches. The Mounties finished with a 5-3 record in the South Coast Conference North for second place.
Mt. SAC fourth year coach Ali-Carey Oliver welcomes back the following returners:
Jessica Morse (Opposite) 1st team All SCC North (2018) - "We'll look to Jessie to lead our offense," Carey-Oliver said. "A season on the sand (Beach Volleyball) really helped her increase her speed and vertical. Coupled with her powerful swing, she's a force to be reckoned with."
Janderi Ceja (Setter) "She will be a big part of our offense this year," Carey-Oliver said. "She played the majority of last season as our second starting setter with Brianda Valdez (who is now setting at Webber International in Florida). Ceja played in 22 of 26 matches in 2018 and her experience will be valuable this season."
Selena Chen (Defensive Specialist) "She was expected to take over the libero role with the departure of two-time, 1st Team All SCC North libero, Malia Carr (now at Catawba College, NC)," Carey-Oliver said. Unfortunately, Chen sustained a season-ending injury over the summer and will not be able to compete this season.
The Mounties add two transfers and eight freshmen to this year's team.
Newcomer Camille Boone, transfer from Cal Poly Pomona, will make the most impact. The 6'0" Middle Blocker prepped at South Hills and is an excellent blocker and savvy hitter.
Azriel White transfers in from the College of Southern Idaho where she helped the Golden Eagles (31-2) win the NJCAA National Championship in 2018. "Azriel is an experienced setter and will balance out our offense," Carey-Oliver added.
Juliana Gomez competed in the Spring for the Mountie Beach Volleyball team, "Juliana brings with her a ton of athleticism and the ability to play multiple positions," Carey-Oliver said.
Katie Magdalik - MB - Pomona Catholic (looking for her to replace MB Kristi Mertins, also a swimmer, strong arm)
Gaby Vatkin - OH - Walnut (improved a ton this summer, good competitor)
Elizabeth Thomas - DS - Nogales (always smiling, good ball control, learning quickly)
Jacquelyn Bahna - OPP - San Dimas (very smart, good blocker)
Citlali Gutierrez - S - Northview (freshman setter, great hands, very competitive)
Daniela Serna - DS - Chino (super quick and makes great reads on defense)
The South Coast Conference is merging back into one conference for volleyball. With the departure of Chaffey College and LA Trade Tech not fielding a team, there will be an 8-team round robin for conference in which everyone plays each team twice. The eight teams are: Mt. SAC, Cerritos, Long Beach City, El Camino, Pasadena City, East Los Angeles, Rio Hondo and LA Harbor.
A new addition this year is a post-season conference tournament, similar to the four-year colleges. The CCCAA is hoping to drum up some attention and excitement with the three-day tourney. It will be held at the end of the season with LBCC hosting.
The first home match of the season is Wednesday (Sept. 4) against College of the Canyons.
Mt. SAC Volleyball Notes:
There are two new assistants this season: Sam Neely, who played on the Mt. SAC Beach Volleyball Team last season and will play in 2020, will replace Kaylyn Lackey as the top indoor assistant. Lackey moved home to continue her education at CSU Stanislaus.
Neely is fresh off of a European tournament where she competed for a Japanese team. She was a 2-time NAIA All-American at Westmont and named the GSAC Player of the Year in her senior season.
Former Mountie Kaitlyn Partridge (MB '17), a recent graduate of Mercy College in New York, will assume the second assistant duties. She replaces Danielle Diaz, who will solely assist the beach team. Partridge was an All-Conference player for the Mounties and repeated that success as the starting MB at Mercy.
"Neely and Partridge bring a ton of passion and fire to the court, as well as extensive knowledge of the game," Carey-Oliver said. "I am thrilled to have these two women working with our program."
Three former Mounties are on to the next level. Kristi Mertins is at OUAZ, Alysha Tullar is in Kentucky playing at Midway and Shaiann Palos leaves for Catawba College in North Carolina in January to play Beach Volleyball.
Follow Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball on Twitter @MtSAC_WVB
For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.