LMC volleyball gears up for fall

Returning core looks to raise the team to new level

Los Medanos College Volleyball Head Coach Lou Panzella and his squad of players have been practicing during the off-season and are ready for the new campaign.

Last year LMC finished with an 11-14 overall record, 9-7 in conference play, and the team looks to improve on that, especially with several returning players.

Panzella is excited to have setter Kiana Pinkowski and outside hitter Taylor Scriven returning to the team. The two were first team all-conference players in the Bay Valley Conference.

Scriven and Pinkowski were leaders on the court last year and plan to do the same this year.

Not only will they lead with experience, but with raw talent as well. Last year Scriven was fifth in California with 394 kills, but she couldn’t have done that without Pinkowski’s 731 assists, which was 23rd in the state.

“The leadership and tone they set is huge,” said Panzella. “They set an example of the type of work ethic it takes to be good.”

Not to be left out is back row libero Taylor Morgan who completes the trio of returning players who have played together since their high school days at Liberty High School in Brentwood, CA.

“I think that from us playing together before that we have a lot of unity, we understand each other, we know what we’re doing.  Plus since we play libero, setter, outside, it works really well, like a triangle type of thing,” said Scriven.

Panzella has been looking all year for talent to replace players that have left the team, however he understands the difficulty of recruiting at the junior college level.

“I think my mindset has to be that, yes in April and May you’re coming here and then between May and mid-August when we actually start classes a lot of things happen and things change. A lot of kids end up changing their mind and going to a four year school…I think the kids that do play and do come and play are kids that have a passion for the game,” said Panzella.

Several players, especially returners are excited for the season and what the team can do. The team has a high goal to win conference and make a playoff run.

“I think were going to have a bigger team, more diversity on the bench, I think we’ll have a lot better outcome over the season with more players on the team,” said Scriven.

Panzella places emphasis on things that often coaches can overlook such as team bonding and putting the team’s needs ahead of an individual’s needs.

“The goal needs to be that the team comes before the individual,” said Panzella.

Height is a concern for the team especially in the front row, but the Mustangs plan to overcome the lack of height with defense.

“We’re a really small team, so I hope defensively we step up,” said Pinkowski. Morgan added, “We need taller people, but I think if we work on jumping higher and reps then we’ll get better.”

Panzella is always looking for new talent and is willing to work with any player as long as they are willing to work hard and get better.

“We’re always looking for girls that want to come to the gym; with experience or without experience. If they are athletic and want to work and want to learn how to play, we’ll work with them,” said Panzella.

Between the combination of discipline and strategy of Panzella, the returning talent and hard work, the Mustangs plan to be a force on the court this upcoming season.