Glendale Community College enjoyed a renaissance in the spring that put it on the state map. Two individual athletes won state championships and the baseball and men's golf teams advanced to their respective state tournaments.
Glendale college women's volleyball Coach Yvette Ybarra surveyed much of the success. Now, she'd like for that to rub off on her team.
"It's something we hope will rub off because it's the type of thing that can propel people," said Ybarra, whose team opens its season at 3 p.m. today against Santa Barbara City College at the Pasadena City College Quad Tournament. "Our returners saw what happened and they have a better understanding of what the leaders of those teams did."
The Vaqueros went 6-17 and 2-10 in the Western State Conference's South Division last season after going 12-10, 8-4 in 2009.
They will return three players and look to replace outside hitter Jessica Alvarez and setter Roxy Domines, who have moved on. Alvarez, an outside hitter, was named to the all-conference first team after recording 243 kills, 201 digs and 41 aces. Domines, a setter, collected 481 assists in receiving honorable mention accolades.
Ybarra, a former volleyball player at Boise State University, said she recruited enough talent on the 13-member squad to put the Vaqueros in position to climb in the division.
"We have players now who can play more than one position," said Ybarra, whose team will begin division play at 7 p.m. Oct. 5 at Santa Monica City College. "That can only help us.
"We also have a lot more depth. There's a willingness to learn and keep a positive attitude."
Leading the way for the Vaqueros will be team captain Sara Kert. The sophomore outside hitter/middle blocker earned all-conference honorable mention honors after posting 70 kills and 44 blocks last season.
Kert said expectations are high for the Vaqueros, who finished sixth in the seven-team division last season.
"Last year, we had a lot of potential, but we just couldn't pull it all together," Kert said. "This year, we expect to win a lot more and we have a lot of new people who can bring a lot to the table.
"We have players who are well-rounded with their skills."
Joining Kert as returners are outside hitter Yessenia Ortega and libero Racquel Valenzuela, a Holy Family graduate.
The other sophomore will be middle blocker/setter Cami Martin, a former All-Area second-team pick from La Cañada High who transferred to Glendale college from Truman State University.
The freshman cast will include middle blocker/opposite hitter Shannon Iannello of Crescenta Valley High, middle blocker Stephanie Hernandez, middle blocker/opposite hitter Amanda Sadia and setter Laila Souktani. They will be joined by outside hitter/libero Lauren Sanchez, middle blocker/outside hitter Angela Gaignard, middle blocker Amanda Cox, outside hitter Jessica Castillo and outside hitter/opposite hitter Lisa Monarrez.
"They have all been working hard at practice, and that's all I want," said Ybarra, whose squad will conclude the regular season Nov. 17 with a division match against visiting College of the Canyons. "I think that we will be scrappy on defense and we want to make teams work to put the ball down.
"We will have the personnel to make adjustments and switches with the lineup."