THOUSAND OAKS, Calif.— After coming up just short of a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) championship in 2017, the Cal Lutheran women's volleyball team is back and ready to claim the title in 2018.
With the new year, also comes a new approach. Tweaking a coaching style, living by what you preach and trying to bring the team closer than ever is what head coach Kellee Roesel has focused on. Love, hope and faith are the focal points.
"The goal is for them to love the sport, program and each other, more than they ever have," said Roesel. "The hope is that they will build relationships that they can have for a lifetime. Learn how to deal with people in good time and bad, through adversity and triumph.
"The faith is that they will learn lessons that will stay with them for the rest of their lives. Faith that they will be honest and vulnerable with each other. And with all that, it will build extremely strong relationships."
The team will focus on these three points as they begin their 2018 journey. Leading the way for the Regals is senior outside hitter Amanda Roberts. She has tallied over 200-plus kills during each of her first three seasons. Last season, she recorded 277 kills and 312 digs and was named Second Team All-SCIAC.
Joining Roberts for their senior season is Hannah Cantrell, Paris Dosch, CJ O'Brien and Steph Rolfson. Dosch had the fourth-most kills last year with 119 and tallied 45 total blocks. Rolfson kept the offense moving with 393 assists. The junior class includes Carly Rose Howard, Amy McKee and Daniella Villano. In their second year with the Purple and Gold is Sarah Hein, Taylor Johnson, Jennifer Kent and Mackenzie Martinez.
"I have to make some really tough decisions," said Roesel. "It is nice as a coach, when you are a few days away from the season and you are like, they are all really good."
The tough decisions are a real thing as Coach Roesel talked about all her student-athletes, one after another, naming at least something about each one. The list went on and on with Roberts being the undisputed leader, Hein and Villano battling it out on the outside, Rolfson and Kent going head-to-head at the setting position, Johnson is hard to beat around the net, Dosch is a physical middle that does everything she is asked, Cantrell gets a lot of kills and blocks, Howard and O'Brien both look really good at the libero spot and McKee and Martinez are explosive and physical.
The returners are joined by a stacked freshman class of eight. The class of 2022 is made up of Maci Haddad, Lauren Heller, Madison Karcich, Samantha Landrum, Jordan MacArthur, Kiana Pelton, Ashley Reyes and Julia Trento.
"I am excited about the athleticism, the attitude and the work ethic of this team," said Roesel. "I've got a lot of moving parts and a lot of options. We have improved in a lot of areas already, and that's a tribute to what the returners have done during the offseason, with the amazing help of the strength and condition coaches Pat (Holmberg) and Joel (Canaco).
"I am really happy with my coaching staff and how much work they put in during the offseason. I couldn't be more pleased with the group right now."
This team may have its own identity, but one thing is going to stay the same for Cal Lutheran volleyball, they are going to compete.
"I guarantee they are going to work as hard as they can, all the time, in all areas of their life," said Roesel. "I'm fortunate to be here as a coach at Cal Lutheran and couldn't be more grateful for the opportunity that I have to coach these women."
Schedule: 2018 Regals Volleyball Schedule
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Release by Ryan Jorgenson, Sports Information Director