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SCCS off to hot start

Girls volleyball team reloads after losing five seniors from 2008

Posted: September 27, 2009 9:49 p.m.
Updated: September 28, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
After a volleyball team loses five seniors from a squad that made it to the CIF-Southern Section Division V-AA semifinals, there’s usually a rebuilding period.

Especially when three of those players were All-CIF Division V selections.

But not for Santa Clarita Christian’s girls volleyball team.

The Cardinals are off to one of their best starts ever, ranked seventh in their division with an 8-1 record despite losing Kristina Gibson, who’s now playing for Simpson University in Northern California, and Karla Eberlein, who will play basketball at The Master’s College this season.

Cardinals head coach Darcy Brown said the team is led by several juniors, and while the group may not have one dominant player, the team is younger, stronger and faster than last year.

“We lost a few seniors last year that were really leaders for us,” Brown said.

Brown said the program’s CIF run the last two years has showed this year’s team what can happen if the team works hard, which has been an added motivation for the players.

“Over the last couple of years, the girls have kind of set that tone, set that standard and built some excitement,” Brown said.

“This group has been able to watch that from the bench and from the bleachers and is ready to come out and try to make it happen again.”

Brown said she has several scrappy players that fought hard and helped the team come from behind to win in tough matches.

Junior Natalie Keoshian has been one of those players to step up, someone Brown described as her hardest-hitting player.

Keoshian plays outside because of her agility and Brown added, “She’s really been able to get some power behind the ball for us.”

Junior Julie Henning has been an anchor for the team from the middle of the court, along with another junior, Shannon Houghin.

“(Houghin) has been working really hard and has a good jump,” Brown said.

Darcy said participating in a pair of public school summer leagues over the break against some tough competition has given the team  good preparation for the regular season. It currently has won 19 of 22 total sets.

“This year, this team has probably the most potential of any group I’ve coached,” said Brown, now in her 16th season as head coach. “But they’ll have to work for everything they get.”

So far, things have been working, with the team’s only loss coming against Carpinteria, a Division II-A public school.

“This team knows how to push each other and bring out their best,” Brown said.

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