New-look Marauders upbeat about upcoming season | Volleyball

Mariner returns only three seniors
By David Pan | Sep 13, 2017
Photo by: David R Pan Mariner’s Laura Lozano-Enriquez hit the ball against Jackson’s Marina Kapor and Olivia Skibiel during a jamboree match Tuesday, Sept. 5, at Cascade High School.

The Mariner volleyball roster underwent a significant turnover.

The Marauders graduated six seniors, including their two setters and some of the team’s top offensive players.

“We have a younger team this year,” third-year coach Julia Church said. “They have some big shoes that they’re going to fill. I know they are going to do it. I know we’re going to progress and get better over the season. We’re kind of learning as we go along.”

Mariner’s roster includes only three seniors – co-captain/outside hitter Brittany Udo, middle hitter Laura Lozano-Enriquez and right side hitter Nia Hawkins.

The three are role models.

“We have some really solid seniors this year that are not just leading skills-wise, but they’re leading as far as positive attitude and kind of setting the tone of what it means to be a part of Mariner volleyball,” Church said.

The Marauders’ younger players actually come in with good experience.

“We have a really solid group of younger players that have come up from the middle school that are committed,” Church said.

When Church took over the program three years ago, the Marauders didn’t have many players participating in club volleyball. That’s changed and Mariner has benefited.

“You can tell the difference,” Church said. “Some of our sophomores that we have on varsity this year played club last year. Some of the reasons why they’re on varsity this year is they got so much better playing club volleyball.”

Taking over at setter is sophomore Taylor Rudberg, a 5-foot-11 standout, who is moving up from junior varsity.

“We’ve never had a tall setter come through here,” Church said. “It’s nice to have a tall setter where they’re able to block in the front row and be an offensive threat as well.”

Church expects the offense to revolve around Udo (5-10), Hawkins (5-10), Lozano-Enriquez (5-10) and junior Rachael Hendrickson (5-11).

“We’re getting some height finally, which is huge for us,” Church said.

Junior co-captain Jaleena Valle is encouraging the players to speak up during matches.

“We’re trying to talk and communicate better on the court,” Valle said. “Success for this year will be every person, as an individual, improving themselves. We can put those skills together as a team.”

Mariner won two matches last season and is aiming for more victories this year, though that isn’t how the players measure success.

The Marauders want to be satisfied with how they played and with the relationships they’ve developed, Udo said.

“It’s about trying your best and playing as a team,” Valle added.

What Udo wants to see is 100 percent effort every game.

“If we all know that we went our hardest, I feel like that’s success,” Udo said.

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