Photo of Anisa Lopez is courtesy LBCC’s Gabby Vasquez
Long Beach City College women’s volleyball coach Misty May-Treanor knows a thing or two about the mountaintop.
May-Treanor climbed to the top of the high school, collegiate, professional, and Olympic volleyball worlds during her record-breaking playing career. She’s had a nice run at LBCC as a coach, too, winning back-to-back conference championships with the Vikings the last two seasons for the first conference hardware there in more than 15 years.
The difference between coaching at the Junior College level and playing, of course, is that you don’t get to stay on the mountaintop — you start at the bottom every year.
“At this level, it’s always hit or miss,” May-Treanor said. “When I was playing it was just go out and beat everyone. That’s not the mentality we have here — our job is whether we win or lose this year to get the players knowledgeable in the sport and then move them on to the next level.”
May-Treanor and her staff were successful at that last year, with three players signing scholarships at the Division 1 and 2 NCAA level, including Sierra Davis (UC Irvine) and Jessica Blakeman (UC Riverside).
The Vikings had six players earn all-conference honors last year, and all six graduated or moved on to the next level. All that’s left from their SCC honor list is May-Treanor.
“We have the athletes, it’s just trying to get them to find themselves and have that competitive edge,” May-Treanor said. “We lost a lot of go-to players so we’re still working out the kinks.”
Twelve of the 19 players on this year’s roster are freshmen, an influx large enough that even after a few matches having been played, May-Treanor was hesitant to name starters.
Jillian Penicki, a Northern California native, has gotten most of the time at setter this year, with Poly alum Anisa Lopez, Calissa Candalot, and Brooke Earkman getting the bulk of the kills so far. Celeste Ropati and Doris Woods have added some punch in the back row, while Los Alamitos’ Rachael Street looks like a good up-and-coming middle blocker.
Millikan alum Kaitlyn Noel and Alana Shields look like good options at right side, with Cairon Fido from St. Anthony adding some firepower as well.
Whether that roster will add up to last year’s high point remains to be seen. The Vikings ended last year by hosting a pair of state tournament matches, something they hadn’t done since May-Treanor was playing at Long Beach State. This year’s team has potential, but has started 3-3.
“We have a front-loaded season to try and get them ready,” May-Treanor said. “We have an overload of freshmen. At the next level, players have two or three years to work their skill and then break the lineup. We don’t have that luxury here, they have to make the adjustment right away.”
The Vikings host Orange Coast at 6 p.m. this Friday in a key match and then Cypress the following Friday at the same time.