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PC volleyball has high hopes
ost coaches who have only three players returning from a year ago would lower expectations for their team. But Porterville College volleyball coach Dale Henderson isn’t most coaches.
Since his first season in 2007 in which the Pirates went 2-20, PC has been competitive ever since and has had its share of success, including a state playoff appearance in 2009. Henderson’s goal every year is to at least finish second in the Central Valley Conference to guarantee a state playoff spot and despite the lack of experience, Henderson’s goal hasn’t changed this year.
“This is potentially as good of team that we’ve had since I’ve been here,” Henderson said.
Henderson has just three returning players, but is high on the 10 incoming freshmen who have joined the program. “We have a good 13 committed individuals, dedicated and ready to play,” Henderson said. “We’re young, we’re talented. It’s going to be exciting. I think we’re going to be successful. The incoming class is pretty strong.”
Henderson also said he has plenty of depth. “We have somebody for every position and we have backups.”
Fresno City, the consensus favorite to win the CVC title every year, is the only conference team PC hasn’t beaten during Henderson’s tenure. That doesn’t stop Henderson from saying this year’s team could be the first to accomplish that feat.
“They can be competing for first place in conference,” said Henderson about his team. “I think they could be the most talented team PC has seen for a while.”
And there’s one other goal Henderson has. “I hope to bring the playoffs to Porterville,” Henderson said. In order for that to happen, for PC to host a state playoff game, it would have to win the CVC crown.
Henderson said his team worked hard during offseason in a strength and conditioning program provided by personal trainer Mike Davis. “It’s really paying off,” Henderson said.
Henderson also said he’s receiving a great deal of help from former player Sylvia Ramirez, who is now his assistant coach, and Strathmore coach Job Lara, who’s volunteering some time with the Pirates.
Here’s a look at the Pirates:
Jennifer Landers: The Granite Hills graduate is one of three sophomores on the team. Landers was an opposite side hitter and setter last year for PC, but will focus on defense this year as a libero.
Reann Chavez: The Porterville High graduate will be a defensive specialist.
Stephanie Dounseroux: The sophomore from McFarland returns as PC’s setter and is coming off an all-conference season last year. “I’m expecting Stephanie to be one of the conference leaders,” Henderson said.
Amanda Monge: A recruiting coup of sorts for PC, Exeter’s Monge had a chance to play at the four-year level, but decided to come to PC. “That was a blessing for us,” Henderson said. “She is awesome.”
“Amanda’s going to put up great numbers,” Henderson also said about Monge, a middle blocker. She can play all the way around.”
Jessica Yocum: The Granite hills graduate will be another defensive specialist.
Kacey Markarian: Markarian, also from Exeter, is listed as an outside hitter, but will be another all-around player for PC, Henderson said.
Allison Clem: The Monache graduate can play outside hitter and opposite side hitter and should be one of PC’s top hitters. “She’s really, really doing well,” Henderson said.
Brittany Gutierrez: The Lindsay High graduate will be an outside hitter and defensive specialists and will be one of the main players setting up the attack. “She’s one of our primary passers,” Henderson said.
Myra Moreno: Opponents may think it’s strange when they’ll see the 5-6 Strathmore graduate at middle blocker. But they better not underestimate Moreno. “She’s the strongest person in the weight room,” Henderson said. “She’s really, really excellent. I expect her to be in the starting lineup.”
Danielle Carrillo: Carrillo, from Mendota, was last year’s West Sierra League most valuable player in volleyball and basketball. “She’s going to contribute to the team,” Henderson said.
Mercedes Gonzalez: Gonzalez, also from Mendota, will be another middle blocker.
Laura Jaggers: The Porterville graduate is PC’s other returner. She will be a defensive specialist and will back up Dounseroux at setter.
Tori Davis: Davis, from Springville who was a setter at Exeter, will also be an opposite side hitter for PC. “She’s doing an excellent job,” Henderson said.