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Second-year coach has high hopes for Spartans
VB--Lathrop preview pic 1
Lathrop High standout Loreal Taylor goes up for a block during practice last Friday. - photo by JONAMAR JACINTO/The Bulletin

Lathrop has less than a handful of seniors heading into this upcoming season.

The Spartans’ second-year head volleyball coach Diana Kimbrough still doesn’t seem too worried.

“We have a heavy load of juniors this year,” Kimbrough said. “My seniors will definitely stand out and will get a lot of playing time. We have set our goals high for the season.

“We’re looking for the top four or five, maybe even third.”

The Valley Oak League is expected to be controlled by powerhouses Oakdale and Sonora, who split a share of the conference title last year. Only the top three finishers from the VOL make it into the Sac-Joaquin Section Division III postseason, however.

Lathrop went 3-11 in the VOL last year and finished near the bottom half.

The Spartans will be looking toward seniors Stephanie Maduli and Loreal Taylor to steer the ship.

Juniors Desiree Mendola and Jaime Ready are a couple of more players with upside coming up from the lower levels.

“(Mendola) is coming up and is doing excellent,” Kimbrough said. “She’s doing great and adjusting (to varsity) very well.

“Jaime is one of our setters, and we have another senior Alycia Rodriguez who took her junior year off and will be returning to us this year.”

Liz Brambila will be another Lathrop junior who will play outside hitter and be coming up from the sophomore team.

Liz is the younger sister of setter Monica Brambila, who graduated and played on last year’s ball club.

Senior Luisa Serrato will be the team’s utility player after missing a majority of her junior year due to injury.

Lathrop’s first game of the preaseason will be Sept. 4 against Edison Fresno on the road.

The Spartans will also have another scrimmage today at home against Patterson with no referees.

“In preseason we’re learning to communicate better as a new team,” Kimbrough concluded. “We’re hoping to push forward and do our best with what we’ve got this season. We are learning new techniques as well, so we hope we’re as tight as we see ourselves being when the season starts.”

Lathrop will open VOL play Sept. 18 on the road against the Oakdale Mustangs.