Believe it: The Glendale Community College women's volleyball team
would like to become heavy hitters.
It's a program that's struggled for many years, culminating in it
being shut down in 2002 because the college's athletic department
decided the team couldn't field a sufficient amount of players.
Things have changed since.
Granted, the Vaqueros haven't posted a winning record since the
program resurrected. But, they appear to have followed through on
their well-conceived plan to recruit from the local talent base.
Glendale College, which went 2-16 and 0-10 in the Western State
Conference's Southern Division last season, will feature two former
Hoover High and four Burbank-based athletes to try to change the
team's direction. The Vaqueros, who will start their season with a
nonconference road match against Antelope Valley College at 7 p.m.
Sept. 2, will return two players to their 10-member roster this
Having the players stay local was something Glendale College Coach
Yvette Ybarra wanted.
"We know that there's good local talent," said Ybarra, who coached
at Santa Ana Saddleback College in 1996. "We haven't had a player
from Hoover come here in years.
"The local athletes who usually go on to play at the junior
college level will go to College of the Canyons or Pasadena City
College, but we wanted athletes who want to learn the basic skills
and move them up to the more advanced skills."
The returning players will be middle blocker Tamirah Washington
and libero/defensive specialist Karla Martinez. The duo will be
counted on to provide leadership.
Washington and Martinez will be surrounded by Hoover graduates
Lourdes Loyola and Carolina Yernazian. Loyola, who was named to the
All-Pacific League's first team last season, will be an outside
hitter and middle blocker. Yernazian will serve as a defensive
specialist and libero.
Ybarra, who also coached the Costa Mesa High boys' and girls'
programs from 1997-99, didn't stop there. She tapped in to the
Burbank area, picking up Dani Regan and Christine Hyman from
Burroughs and Maria Clement and Ashlei Limbaga from Providence.
Regan will likely be the starting setter and Hyman will be an
outside hitter. Clement will be a defensive specialist and libero,
and Limbaga will serve as an outside hitter.
The Vaqueros will also feature outside hitter Maria Casco-Otero
and setter/opposite hitter Amber Barton.
"Last year, we started with 13 players and then it dropped to
seven," Ybarra said. "I'm eager to see this team because I see their
mindset that they want to pass and hit the ball better.
"They've worked hard to better their skills. If there's an
obstacle put forth, they'll jump over it."