Sonora looks to successful season
By Erik Marcus
La Habra Journal
Entering into his third year with Sonora Volleyball, head coach Andy Johnson has a lot to be excited for.
The Lady Raiders season did not get off to the start they wanted last year, but finished with plenty of momentum.
“The season ended too short,” Johnson said.
The Raiders captured three wins in a row sweeping them in three sets to finish the season 9-15 with an even 5-5 record in the Freeway League.
This year the future looks bright. The Raiders return 10 players from last years squad headlined by this years captains, Senior Shannon Kakuk, and Juniors Emily Sonny and Nicole Fraga.
Joining this years team is a transfer from league champion Troy High school Allie Beattie.
“She’s an outside hitter, I think of all the players in the North County or even in the Orange County area … I wouldn’t want any other player.
With Frags and Beattie, the Raiders will have two of the top outside hitters in the league
“This is (Frags’) third year outside, so we have two girls who can really put the ball away and are really explosive.
So far the team’s high expectations are producing results. The Lady Raiders went 8-2 in the El Dorado summer league.
With the progress he has seen, Johnson sets his sight on a league title.
“The success we saw over the summer is an indication that with hard work, that’s something that is possible.” Johnson said.
Due to Beattie’s transfer she will be forced to sit out the first 30 days of the season, but Johnson expects to see her make an impact just as league play begins.
This summer coach Johnson wanted to see his middle blockers improve and has seen improvements for Vadia Metchkoff, Alexandra Spolsdoff, and Erin Murphy.
“Those three girls not only filled the role, but they showed us that they can provide offense and definitely their role on defense was huge.
The Lady Raider bench should be improved since 10 players are returning with prior Varsity experience.
Last year’s experience has also helped these ladies develop mentally.
“The girls are tough as nails,” Johnson said, “They have a great demeanor; their work ethic is top notch.”
Johnson has seen his veteran leaders provide leadership and a positive example for anyone new to varsity.
“It’s the returning girls that lead the way with how hard they work, and then the new girls come in, and really have no choice but to follow their lead,” Johnson said.
As Johnson reflected on some of the differences between the girls this year and those same ones the year before he was confident they are more prepared to deal with the season’s rigors.
“A lot of these girls were quiet at the start of last year, coming from JV to varsity is a big jump, the pace of play, expectations, communicating everything,” he added.
“We had three matches least year where we were leading two games to none or to two games to one and end up losing in five,” He explained. “So it was the last step, and I really think experiencing these heartbreaks and setbacks will now benefit us this year.
With huge improvements in sight, Johnson encourages fans to come out and watch them play. He said fans can join the Rowdy Raiders section and make sure not to miss games against La Habra and Troy.