There are some new volleyball coaches west of I-5 this year. Stacia Stricker will assume the reins at Weston Ranch and Pamela Adams is the new coach at Lathrop.
Stricker, a 2001 graduate of East Union ,has coached high-school volleyball for seven years and this year will be a stickler on accountability.
“I am trying to set up this season where everyone has to work for their position,” Stricker said. “We will have three people in each position and they will need to earn it on a day-to-day basis and hopefully that will keep them more accountable so nobody thinks they own any one spot.”
The Cougars just missed breaking the .500 mark last year, going 6-8 in the Valley Oak League and 10-12 overall.
Stricker declined to specify any outstanding players because, “I want the focus this year to be on the team, not on specific individuals. I believe this will be the key to our success.”
Elisabeth Alexander and Victoria Gulley led the front row as juniors last year. Gulley was an All-VOL second-team selection.
Since Sonora is no longer in the VOL some coaches will be glad to not have to play the Wildcats. That is not the case with Stricker who has scheduled Sonora for her team’s Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game.
“Although I don’t enjoy the drive to Sonora, they were always a well-coached team with competitive players,” Stricker said. “Some people are probably happy to have Sonora out of the VOL, but I personally looked forward to the challenge and am glad we’ll have the opportunity to play them for our Foundation Game.”
The Cougars will host the Wildcats on Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 7 p.m. and play on the road against Franklin of Stockton on Wednesday, Sept. 4 at 6 p.m.
Following a stint playing volleyball in the military, Adams coached for the Valley Rebels travel team for a year and for five years at Millennium High. She inherits a Lathrop squad that went 2-12 in the VOL and 3-15 overall.
“There is a lot of talent here,” Adams said. “And under the right leadership, I know this team’s record will improve.”
Adams will have a larger returning contingent to provide that leadership in Liz Brambila,
Calia Morales, Ashely Diboki, Jamie Ready, Desire Mendola and Jacqueline Manzo. Coming up from the sophomore squad are Samantha Fonseca, Sarah Pacheco, Leilani Calderon, Katelynn Bida, Raquel Haro and Brittney Arwood.
The Spartans begin play earlier than most local schools when they host Tracy High on Friday, Aug. 29 at 5 p.m.