By Ray Hamill - Times Standard
If this past offseason has been any indication, the College of the Redwoods volleyball team seems to be headed in the right direction.
It’s also been a statement of intent from a young coaching staff that appears determined to build a competitive program at a school where the sport has often struggled.
And that all starts with getting the players on board, and, more importantly, getting enough of them on board.
“We have a total of 16 kids as of right now,” second-year head coach Petra Lorenzi said. “So we’ve done a lot of recruiting.”
Lorenzi and assistant coach Bethany Rapp, who are preparing for a series of youth camps at the school this week, have certainly been busy on the recruiting trail.
They have added 12 new players to go with the four returning sophomores, almost doubling the size of last season’s roster.
And ironically, last season’s struggles helped the process.
“Because I was such a late hire last year, we had no preseason and we only had a conference schedule,” Lorenzi explained. “So that left us a lot of time in September to start the recruiting and get to see a lot of volleyball, and it actually helped set us up for the following year.”
The recruiting class includes three local standouts as well as players from Oregon, the Bay Area, Sacramento, and even one from New Mexico.
And Lorenzi feels every one of them will be a good fit for CR and the vision she has for the program going forward.
“They’re very, very eager to get here and start,” the coach said. “They all just want to keep playing volleyball. They love the sport and they’re extremely competitive.”
Eureka’s Jessica Simon, McKinleyville’s Emma Miller and Del Norte’s Alondra Ladezma all are among the new faces this fall, opting to continue their playing careers and education close to home.
They will be joined by four returning sophomores — Fortuna’s Mikenzie Palotas, Ferndale’s Olivia Wilma, Hoopa Valley’s Rhea McCoy and Elise Wilson out of Golden Sierra High in the Sacramento area.
“The biggest thing I’m excited about is that they’re all on board with what we’re trying to build here,” the coach said.
Many of the players will also be on hand this week as the Corsairs hold two youth camps for local players.
Monday and Tuesday will feature a camp for fifth through seventh graders, with eighth and ninth graders attending on Wednesday and Thursday.
Lorenzi said they will be taking same-day registration for both camps. For more information anyone interested can email the coach at firstname.lastname@example.org.