Sister act: Stahl girls both on team By Mike Hodgson/Associate Editorfirstname.lastname@example.org http://www.theadobepress.com/articles/2009/09/04/news/news02.txt Nipomo High School girls volleyball head coach Erin Alves’ decision to put underclassmen on the varsity squad has continued somewhat of a tradition in the South County — siblings on the same volleyball team. Freshman Sarah Stahl is joining big sister and senior Kendall Stahl on the team for the 2009-10 season. They’re following in the footsteps of sister acts like Korie and Sissy Hill, Vanessa and Denise Grabel and two other pairs of sisters who played for Arroyo Grande High School. Although Kendall and Sarah are aware of that, being on the same team isn’t really on their minds as they concentrate on volleyball. “I don’t really think about it that much,” Sarah said. “It’s different,” Kendall added. “I’ve never had her on my team before.” Kendall started playing volleyball in sixth grade at St. Patrick’s School in Arroyo Grande. “I switched out soccer for volleyball,” she said. “It’s the one sport I’ve kept up with.” Sarah also played soccer but switched to volleyball. The two sisters help each other out by practicing together on a “sort-of level” grassy area outside their house. “We have a fold-up net,” Kendall said. “I hit balls at her, and we practice digging. We set against the walls. “I’ve broken a window,” she admitted. Sarah is one of the shortest players on the varsity, standing just over 5 feet tall, but she packs a lot of power into her size. That was evident the past two summers as she teamed up with another of this year’s varsity freshmen — Cristina Ozzimo, who is barely taller than Sarah — to form a beach volleyball team. They played up and down the state in the California Beach Volleyball League and ended up ranked second in the state, said Cristina’s mother, Anne Ozzimo. “We call them the Tiny Titans,” Ozzimo said. September 4, 2009
Looking to reclaim glory: Coach brings new techniques to NHS By Mike Hodgson/Associate Editoremail@example.com http://www.theadobepress.com/articles/2009/09/04/news/featurednews/news01.txt After a disappointing season for the Nipomo High School girls volleyball team last year, a new head coach wants to push the lady Titans back to the top of the heap. Erin Alves hopes to return the team to the level it enjoyed in the 2005-06 season, when it won the Los Padres League title, and the ’06-07 and ’07-08 seasons, when it placed second in the PAC-7. “I try to set realistic goals for the program,” Alves said Monday as the varsity, JV and freshman teams gathered for practice in the NHS gym. “We’re not trying to sweep the league, but I hope to improve our record over last year. “I would say we will be the best-improved team in the league at the end of the season,” she added. To do that, Alves has instituted some new wrinkles, like intensive training during the summer, sending players to camps at Cal Poly and having them play club ball. She’s also brought in volunteer coach Dave DeGroot, a former star player and coach at UC Santa Barbara, former Allan Hancock College coach and all-America setter who has 35 years of experience and has coached Olympics-level players. “He’s one of the top players and coaches, the creme de la creme, and he’s willing to donate his time,” Alves said. DeGroot coaches the setters and spikers on what he calls “the basic fundamentals” through the “progressive part-whole teaching method,” which breaks down movements into parts, emphasizes each part, then puts them all together. “I try to make it as simple and successful for them as possible,” DeGroot said. “There’s nothing better for a coach than to see that little light go on when they get it.” Alves herself is using a coaching technique called “gold medal squared.” “You teach certain ‘keys’ to the kids,” Alves said. “Instead of ‘just move your feet,’ it’s like the rule ‘i before e except after c.’ The kids memorize the rules.” Practices include the Competition Cauldron, where the girls rack up points in an ongoing “friendly competition” — for example, earning points for the percentage of 16 serves landing in-bounds. She’s also put two sophomores and three freshmen on the varsity team, a squad of 14 that includes just five returning players. “We have some very talented underclassmen on our team, and they push the returners to work harder,” Alves said. “The underclassmen will probably be starters, or playing a majority of the games,” she said, adding, “I had to make some tough cuts to make room for the underclassmen.” But putting underclassmen on the varsity squad is part of the strategy Alves hopes will lead to powerhouse teams year after year. That strategy includes having all three teams practice together. “The assistant coach (Nick Reisbeck) and I float around and make sure all the same skills are being taught,” Alves explained. It also consists of conducting clinics for Mesa Middle School players and forming the Cal Coast Volleyball Club to provide extra coaching and playing experience. At 29, Alves has been playing volleyball since the sixth grade when her father, a club player, instilled her with a love of the game. A full-time employee for Wells Fargo Bank, she started coaching in 2001 at her alma mater, Mission San Jose High School, guiding the boys varsity squad to a winning record. After moving to Oceano in 2002, Alves was the junior varsity coach at Mission College Prep High School from 2002 to 2005, then was assistant coach at Allan Hancock College. Since 2007, she’s served as head coach of several girls club teams affiliated with the Central Coast Volleyball Club. Alves thinks the varsity squad’s season prospects look good, but she knows she’ll be facing top teams like Arroyo Grande, San Luis Obispo and Atascadero in the Titans’ last year in PAC-7 before returning to the Los Padres League. Her strategy will get its first test when the Titans host Arroyo Grande High School in a scrimmage at 5 p.m. Tuesday in the NHS gym. September 4, 2009
Tournaments as social competitions By Kenny Cress / Sports Writer / firstname.lastname@example.org http://www.santamariatimes.com/articles/2009/08/11/sports/sports58.txt Claudia Trudeau, Erin Alves and Nick Reisbeck are well-traveled. They all coach, or coached, for the Central Coast Volleyball Club. Thus, they’ve made a lot of treks to Southern California for tournaments. “I’ve averaged about a trip every three weekends down for tournaments, but sometimes it’s every two weekends,” said Trudeau. She, Alves and Reisbeck all spoke during recent phone interviews. Trudeau has coached with the CCVC for seven years and just finished coaching the club’s Girls 18-and-Under squad. Her daughter, Olivia, played club ball for six years, The three-time PAC-7 League MVP setter from Arroyo Grande High School signed recently to play for Seton Hall. Claudia’s son, Gavin, plays club ball for the Santa Barbara Spikers. He was on Arroyo Grande’s varsity last season as a freshman. Besides the Southern California tournaments, there are big annual out-of-state tourneys. “I coached the Central Coast 14 Elite team and we went to a week-long festival in Phoenix,” said Alves. “We finished 34th. That’s pretty good for a little local club. There were over 150 teams from all over the West, Alaska, Hawaii.” Alves will start her first year as Nipomo High School’s girls volleyball coach this school year. She will also start her own club organization the next club season. “Nick and myself and several other coaches decided to break away from the Central Coast program,” said Alves. “The club will be Cal Coast Volleyball Club. “Central Coast Volleyball is based in Santa Maria, and this club is going to be based in the Five Cities area. I figured coaching at Nipomo, I hope to utilize Nipomo’s gym. It’s a beautiful facility. Plus, we plan to use the Oceano Community Center. “Our team used Hancock College. It’s a beautiful facility there, but it’s hard to get gym time when you’re competing against other sports. Claudia Trudeau coached at Nipomo the first three years of the school’s existence, and the team made the CIF Southern Section Playoffs each time. Nipomo won a league championship during Trudeau’s second season. Reisbeck just finished his fifth season with the CCVC’s Girls 16-and-Under Team. He coaches in the St. Joseph boys program and will assist Alves at Nipomo. The three all commended parents and athletes who were willing to put in the time and miles — and sometimes big expense — that club volleyball requires. “It can be exhausting,” said Alves. The commitment can take quite a toll on Alves too. “I have a full-time job at Wells Fargo Bank,” she said. Claudia Trudeau said, “We’re in a unique situation on the Central Coast because we’re more isolated. There aren’t any travel ball tournaments here so whether we’re playing in Northern or Southern California, we’re traveling. “Central Valley teams go through the same thing. There used to be a travel ball tournament in Santa Barbara but because there are so many more facilities in Southern California, and so many teams, they decided it just wouldn’t be feasible any more.” All three club coaches said that although the club ball travel commitment can be big, the payoff can be big too. By payoff, they weren’t talking college scholarship. “I think the bottom line is (a big tournament in Las Vegas) is where Olivia happened to be seen,” Trudeau stressed. “Olivia worked very hard, I coached her in club volleyball and she was in club volleyball for six years. But the training she got in camps, at Arroyo Grande High School, club volleyball all tied in for her. It was invaluable.” Trudeau played for Ernie Santa Cruz at Arroyo Grande. “Ernie does an excellent job,” said Claudia Trudeau. Santa Cruz’s squads have bowed out in CIF SS divisional quarterfinals the last seven years. The club ball coaches said socialization is a big benefit to club volleyball. “I had three Santa Ynez girls, three from St. Joseph, a Pioneer Valley girl and five Arroyo Grande girls,” said Reisbeck. “So it’s not like they’re in the same cliques, just knowing what they know. There were teams from all over the world, practically, at the (last) volleyball festival, teams from the East Coast. “We got paired up with a sister team from Chicago, had lunch with them. (Our players) reached out to not only another school system, but another state.” Alves said, “I think (club volleyball) is great for teamwork, camaraderie. We had some players from Arroyo Grande, Mission Prep, Nipomo, San Luis Obispo, Righetti. “It’s nice when they come together. If not for this team, they might not have met each other. They can build lifelong friendships.” Alves had 13 players on her roster. Six are incoming freshmen, and she will see two of them at Nipomo — Christina Ozzimo and Sarah Stahl. Alves and Reisbeck said that club volleyball gives volleyball players more opportunity to work on their craft. “High school volleyball is only three months,” Alves said. “Like any other sport, you have to practice volleyball.” Reisbeck said, “Volleyball is a very repetitive sport, and club ball really has its benefits. You can’t duplicate game experience, and you can get more of that in club ball if the teams are not ginormous. “Where some players may sit on the bench with their high school team, they may be able to get more playing time with a club team.” Besides playing high school and club volleyball, Olivia Trudeau played four years of basketball at Arroyo Grande. “I’m a big proponent of kids playing multiple sports,” her mother said. “I think that’s important in high school sports. Playing basketball really helped Olivia with her athleticism,” for volleyball. Meanwhile, Alves spoke fondly of the gym price for the CCVC. “Gym time in Santa Maria is free. I’m going to miss that.” August 11, 2009
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