By the time the Wilson Bruins played their first competitive volleyball match last Saturday morning, they’d only held seven practices as a team. That didn’t provide the Bruins with much of an opportunity to make up for lost time, especially with a new head coach in charge. Gerald Aquiningoc was announced as Wilson’s new head coach on July 20, and has spent the last four weeks getting to know his team, working to install his own system, and looking to form some continuity within his roster.
“We’re really young. We only have two seniors and a ton of 10th graders on varsity,” Aquiningoc explained. “I am looking forward to the future. This year I think we’re going to be competitive; we have some good girls, but we’re just lacking that big game experience, which the Moore League is going to give us. We’re going to take our lumps just because a lot of the girls are young. But they’re really liking my system and they’re buying in quick. We’re working hard right now.”
One of those two seniors who will be key in guiding the young Bruins through the 2021 season is setter Jaedyn Gonzalez. As team captain, Gonzalez has been praised for her communication skills with her teammates as well as the energy she brings to the floor. Fellow senior Meredith Bond is a 6-foot-1 middle who will be a big target for Gonzalez while leading the Wilson block.
Junior Valerie Coward will start at outside hitter, and is a player Aquiningoc is very high on for the next two seasons. Fellow juniors Kate Johnson and Sydney Scott will also take swings on the outside for Wilson.
Aquiningoc is also excited about the potential of 6-foot-3 sophomore Chloe Pravednikov, who will start at opposite for Wilson. She is the younger sister of Wilson boys’ volleyball star Leo Pravednokov, who won Moore League Player of the Year while leading the Bruins to a CIF-SS title earlier this spring.