GLENDALE — With a squad of just 10 players, the Glendale Community College women’s volleyball team is looking at its numbers as a potential positive rather than a detriment.
Vaqueros Coach Yvette Ybarra has had more time to devote to her players in preparation for their season opener at 7 p.m. Sept. 4 against host Cypress College.
While some coaches might consider it advantageous to carry 13-14 athletes, Ybarra doesn’t mind spending the extra time instructing a smaller group.
“I’m certainly not uncomfortable having just 10 players,” said Ybarra, whose team went 5-20, 2-10 for sixth place in the tough Western State Conference South Division that included three-time state champion L.A. Pierce. “If you have 14 players, that can be too much.
“Just because you have more players doesn’t mean you are automatically better. For me, I think it’s better to have a smaller-sized group and we can go over different strengths and weaknesses they might have and be able to break it down some more.”
Ybarra said being able to grasp the fundamentals will be key for the Vaqueros, who will have four sophomores and six freshmen. The Vaqueros return three players.
The freshmen have spent the majority of the offseason preparing for the next level, leaving Ybarra enthusiastic about the prospects of the program turning things around while playing a demanding schedule that will include a pair of tournaments.
“The more repetitions you can get in now the better,” said Ybarra, whose team will play its first home match at 6 p.m. Sept. 11 against Chaffey. “You see what people can do and you see how it can translate in a match.
“I think we will be much stronger defensively than in past seasons. Our serve-receive and passing will also be big. When you can execute in those two areas, it can change a lot of things around.”
The sophomores will be outside hitters Kristin Arkosy, Brooke Forrester and Ashlie Valmonte. They will be joined by setter Janeth Mosqueda, who spent last season at Cal State Los Angeles.
Among the group of freshmen will be setters Nicole Encarnacion (Burroughs High) and Megan Williams, outside hitter Sabrina Takeuchi and liberos Elsie Kwon, April Leyva (Providence) and Briana Martinez.
Valmonte said the new players have adjusted well to the collegiate level.
“They’ve come in and begun to pick up a lot of different things,” Valmonte said. “You can see them making the right decisions.
“I think we have a team that will be able to work well together. We will be a good hitting team.”
The Vaqueros will compete in six nonconference matches, in addition to tournaments in San Diego and Victor Valley.
Glendale begins division action Oct. 4 against visiting Bakersfield. The Vaqueros will wrap up the regular season with a division road match against Santa Monica on Nov. 20.
With Pierce having moved to the conference’s north division, the south division will now include Antelope Valley.
Ybarra said she doesn’t expect a drop off in the south division.
“I think our division should be interesting,” Ybarra said. “College of the Canyons, Bakersfield and Citrus should all be good.
“We want to go [into the division] having won four or five matches. We need to focus on what we can do well and then make the most of it against teams in our division.”