Marauders focused, dialed in for upcoming season | Volleyball

Young Mariner squad looking to double its win total from last season
By David Pan | Sep 05, 2018
Photo by: David R Pan Senior Jaleena Valle is shifting to outside hitter this season.

Practices are all business for Mariner’s volleyball team.

The Marauders arrive on time, work on improving their skills and go hard against each other during spirited scrimmages.

Even though Mariner has yet to play its first match, this year’s team is shaping up to the best in Julia Riordan’s four years as head coach

“It’s doing the little things,” Riordan said. “We’re now at the point where we just get in the gym and we just play. They know all the vocabulary we’re talking about. They know the drills we’re doing. They know all the little skills that we’re working on. It’s a lot of fun. We’re just able to step in and play. The girls are focused. They’re dialed in. They’re ready to go.”

The Marauders also are a young squad with only three seniors – outside hitters Jaleena Valle and Rachael Hendrickson and libero Erika Hernandez. But at the same time, this year’s team brings more experience than ever.

When Riordan first took over the program few of the Marauders played select volleyball. A majority of the roster this season were involved in select programs.

“That adds some maturity to their level of play,” Riordan said. “Even though, we’re young, they look a lot more mature than they did last year. It should be a fun competitive season.”

Junior Taylor Rudberg returns as setter and will have help from sophomore Leslie Amaral, who is moving up from junior varsity.

Rudberg was brought up to the varsity squad late in her freshman season and took over as the setter her sophomore year.

“I think she played every single point of every single match last year,” Riordan said. “She works hard. She does anything for the team.”

Riordan plans to have Rudberg and Amaral on the court at the same time.

“I’m excited to see both of them together on the court where they both get to hit and both get to set,” Riordan said. “It kind of relieves a little pressure off Taylor and lets her focus on different aspects of the game rather than just setting.”

Valle and Hendrickson both are shifting to the outside. Valle previous was the libero, while Hendrickson was a middle hitter.

Other potential offensive leaders include junior Gabrielle Jacobs, junior Tina Duangmani, sophomore Emily Dang, Rudberg and Amaral.

“I think this is a team that is going to improve a lot,” Valle said. “We have a lot more players who have more potential in learning and wanting to learn.”

The players also support each other during practices.

“We all really encourage each other,” Hernandez said.

Henrickson agrees with her coach that this year’s team is shaping up to be a strong unit.

“This year I feel like is the best I’ve seen,” she said. “We have good chemistry.”

Mariner has won two matches in each of the last two seasons. Riordan is hoping to double the win total this year.

“I think we can do it,” she said. “If the girls come and stay dialed in and focused like they have been since tryouts, we’re going to be able to get a lot of things done.

“We’ve created this new culture here. There’s a lot more urgency with our girls.”

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.