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Local connection again key to PC volleyball's continued success
Porterville College volleyball coach Dale Henderson set out to prove the skeptics wrong.
“You can’t win with locals,” said the fourth-year PC coach about what he was told. “I’m here to prove them wrong.”
Henderson has already proven the skeptics wrong, leading the Pirates to their most successful season ever in volleyball in 2009, relying on local players. PC went 17-6 overall and 11-3 for a second place finish in the Central Valley Conference behind Fresno City College. PC advanced to the state playoffs with the CVC second place finish.
The Pirates’ No. 10 ranking in Northern California, No. 10 seed for the NorCal playoffs, and No. 21 ranking in the state were all the highest ever for the program.
Henderson again has an all-local team featuring players from Tulare County and the South Valley and the high standard has been set for the 2010 team to meet.
“We want to maintain,” said Henderson about where the program is. “We want to stay in the top three in the conference. That’s our goal. My goal as a coach is to do better than last year.”
If PC wants to make another trip to the state playoffs, another second place finish at least in the CVC will virtually have to be necessary. The top two teams in each conference in the North are guaranteed spots in the playoffs, leaving only two other berths for third place teams to advance to the 16-team NorCal postseason. And it’s highly unlikely that the CVC’s third place team will earn one of those berths. “Which puts the pressure on us,” Henderson said.
PC will have a chance to see where it stands with CVC opponents Fresno and Reedley at the 20-team scrimmage at Cuesta Community College on Saturday. Fresno, Reedley and PC will all be at the event.
The Pirates will open the season at 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3 at home against Bakersfield College.
Here’s a look at the 2010 Pirates:
Jennifer Landers, freshmen outside hitter-setter, Granite Hills: Henderson said Landers will make the transition to outside hitter from setter, which she played at Granite Hills, but can also be used as a setter. “She’s going to play all-around,” Henderson said. “I think Jennifer is going to surprise a lot of people. She’s going to be real versatile. She does everything.
Sabina Lopez, sophomore libero, Exeter: “Will probably be the best libero in the conference,” said Henderson, who also said Lopez is one of three players on the roster who could play at Division I.
Stephanie Dounseroux, freshman setter, McFarland: Dounseroux has big shoes to fill as she replaces Laura Lopez, a two-year starter, who earned all-CVC first team honors. But Henderson said Dounseroux should be up to the challenge.
“I have high expectations of Stephanie,” Henderson said. “I think that Stephanie can be a better setter than Laura was,” Henderson also said Dounseroux is more athletic than Lopez.
And Dunseroux won’t be alone as this year’s team will have three setters as opposed to when Lopez was the only setter on the team.
Deanell Dohrman, freshman middle blocker, Porterville: Henderson said Dohrman will be PC’s utility player. “She’s constantly improving,” Henderson said.
Crystal Bueno, freshman middle blocker, Delano: Bueno will be a starting middle blocker. “She’s filling in with no problem,” Henderson said.
Sylvia Ramirez, sophomore outside hitter, Granite Hills: “She’s going to be one to look at,” said Henderson, who also said Ramirez is another Division I-caliber player. “The stars are the limit for that girl. She has an awesome jump serve. She’s going to be a very exciting player to watch.”
Katrina Goulbourne, sophomore outside hitter-middle blocker, Redwood: The third Division I-caliber player, she will be counted on to lead the team along with Ramirez. “Either one of them is my No. 1 option,” Henderson said. “They know they pretty much have to carry the team.”
Jessica Gutierrez, freshman opposite hitter, Porterville: “She will be a contributing factor to this team,” Henderson said.
Laura Jaggers, freshman opposite hitter-setter, Porterville: Along with playing opposite hitter, Jaggers will be the backup setter.
In addition, Evan Dillon, an all-CVC second team choice last year, is redshirting this season.