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Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball set big goals for the upcoming 2022-23 season

2022 Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball Team
2022 Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball Team

(Walnut, CA) With the 2022-23 Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball season just getting underway, the Mounties and head coach Samantha Neely have set some lofty goals.

"We have our eye on the South Coast Conference title this year, as well as going far in the State playoffs," third-year coach Samantha Neely said. "Having been a few points short in a fifth set to secure the SCC championship last season, our whole team has come back into the gym this year with even more hunger. We are all dedicated to excellence and working every day to be intentional with our physical and mental training to ensure we are getting better and better.

"This is a special group, and we as a coaching staff are overwhelmed with gratitude for having such an incredible group of women to work with." 

Neely was referring to last season's SCC title-match loss to No. 3-ranked Pasadena City College, losing in the fifth set, 15-12, for the 3-2 setback.

The Mounties 20-win (20-7) season was the most wins since the 2011 season when they advanced to the second round of the CCCAA So Cal Regionals.

The Mounties finished the regular season with a 14-4 SCC record, behind first-place PCC.

Finishing with eight consecutive wins in the regular season and 14 of the last 15 has carried over to this season with eight returning players, which includes four All-SCC players.

Mt. SAC opens with a match at neighboring Citrus College on Friday (August 26), followed by two matches (Bakersfield and Santa Barbara) in the Bakersfield quad on Saturday (August 27). The first home match is Wednesday (August 31) against Fullerton.

Leading the way was SCC Libero of the Year, Riannel Arevalo, All-SCC First Team and All-So Cal Region outside hitter, Riley DeGroot, All-SCC First Team, and SCC All-Tournament Team OH, JJ Quarrels and All-SCC Second Team opposite, Allison Whiteman.

Coaches comments: Arevalo – Ri, as always, has brought strong energy and leadership qualities to the gym during training this summer. She continues to improve, and with her work ethic, the sky is the limit for what she can achieve.

DeGroot – She has fully recovered from her season-ending ankle injury last season and is stronger than ever. She has significantly increased her toolkit and volleyball IQ after competing for us on the sand, and it has taken her game to the next level. 

Quarrels – JJ has been working on breaking down her swing to develop more power, and we are excited to have her bring even more heat this season.

Whiteman – Allison has also been developing her power and she has made huge improvements already during the summer with both attacking and blocking.

DeGroot will join Arevalo and DS/L Bristol Christelman as team captains for the upcoming season.

"These three captains each bring a unique style of leadership to the team," Neely added. "I think they will be key in keeping our team focused on our goals and consistent with who we want to be as a team."

Rounding out the eight returners are Savanna Corrales, Victoria Arnold, Christelman and Kylie Rhodes. "Each of them has grown into confident volleyball players and we will be seeing them have a significant impact on the court this season alongside the returning starters," Neely said. 

Nine new players will complete the 2022-23 roster. Sophomore transfer - Angelina Burton, from Irvine Valley College, "….is a standout player and someone to watch."

"Coming off of a grey shirt season is Keilani Lim," said Neely, of the MB/OPP player. "She worked hard to recover from an ACL reconstruction and is ready to go. She has truly worked for her spot on this team. The mental and physical toughness it takes to go through that rehab process is demanding, and Lani overcame every adversity she faced with grace the past year in order to get where she is today." 

The remaining seven players are freshmen: Leia Campbell (MB), Capri Salmon (S), Melissa Polich (OH), Samantha Parks (OPP), Paige Gutowski (DS/L), Kyra Miller (MB), and Zyra Green (OH).  

Coaches' comments: Capri Salmon – Her club team earned a bid and competed in the Junior Olympics (Forza1).

Paige Gutowski – A CIF SS Division 3 Champion from Chino Hills High.

Melissa Polich and Sam Parks – They were club teammates (TStreet) where they placed second in a National Qualifier. 

Zyra Green – Also competing for Mt. SAC Women's basketball team. 

"The incoming freshmen are strong and eager to learn," said Neely, of her new first-year players. "They are a very coachable and positive group. They are coming into a competitive team of sophomores and have adjusted to the speed of the college game well."

Rounding out two of last year's outstanding players for the Mounties who have transferred to the NCAA DI level was Middle Blocker Raeven Pugh (Southern University, Baton Rouge, LA) and Setter Ally Euston (California Baptist University).

"This is a special group," said Neely, of this year's team. "As a coaching staff, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for having such an incredible group of women to work with."

Follow Mt. SAC Women's Volleyball on Twitter @MtSAC_WVB or Instagram /mtsacvolleyball

Follow Mt. SAC Athletics on Twitter @MtSAC_athletics or Facebook @Mountie.Athletics

For additional information, please contact the Mt. SAC Sports Information Office at 909.274.4630.