Expectations will be the name of the game for the Bruins this season. Ninth-year coach Carlos Briceno thought he could have a title contender this year until senior and UCLA commit Gabby Sonnhalter suffered a season-ending knee injury while competing at Junior Olympics this summer.
“That’s a big void to fill, but we’re still returning a lot of players and still have a lot of athleticism,” Briceno said. “We’re expecting that other players are going to step up this year for us and provide the offense.”
With three setters in junior Doris Chuang, junior Riley White and sophomore Jaedyn Gonzalez on the roster, Briceno said Wilson could possibly run a 6-2 set with the third setter playing on the back line as a defensive specialist. Chuang got some great experience over the summer playing with Sonnhalter at Mizuno volleyball club, and could play on the outside.
Senior Samiya Terry and junior Mikayla Nolte will give Wilson good size at middle blocker, and junior Risa Sena will be back at outside hitter after a breakout sophomore campaign.
“We’re very positive and have a lot of energy coming into this team,” Sena said. “Last year we lost to Poly and Lakewood, but we put up a good fight, I think this year we’ve all grown as players a lot so it will be really exciting to see where we’re at. I think we get more pumped up for the higher competition and we’re definitely going into those games with a different mindset.”
Briceno has coached most of the league’s top talent at Mizuno this year, and thinks his Wilson team can compete with Poly and Lakewood.
“Four or five years ago, were really intimidated by playing them, but I don’t feel like we are in that same place right now,” Briceno said. “It comes down to how comfortable you can be in an uncomfortable situation. We have the players and the talent to hang with them, but it’s a matter of executing for a long period of time.”