Vista volleyball team off to slow start

By: Matt Long, Sports Editor
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Vista volleyball coach Dave Faz said it at the end of last year when Lindsey Sampson was graduating and he’s still wondering the same thing as the season gets under way now: who will replace his star libero?

The list of prospective replacements is long, but as the season begins the search is still on. With ball control being a key to running a team’s offense, Faz is eagerly waiting to find who will handle the role. The Eagles dropped to 0-3 on the season following a 3-0 loss to Folsom on Monday.

“It’s a big question and I’m still searching for the answer,” said Faz as to who will replace Sampson. “Several players want to step up into this role: Maddie Blue, Natalie Gaffney, Raina Parfenov, McKenzie Corr. It’s been a battle, but we expect by the time league starts that our libero will step up.”

The Eagles return almost the entire team from last year’s group that went 7-13 and got knocked out of the playoffs in the first round. Seniors Erika Biggs (setter), Milan Calcagno (middle blocker) and Lauren Petersen (outside hitter, right side, middle blocker) along with juniors Jadyn Shaw (outside hitter) and Katy Kasparian (middle blocker) saw the most playing time a year ago. Other members of the senior class include Parfenov (outside hitter), Blue (defensive specialist), Alexis Gonzalez (opposite), Lindsey Moody (middle blocker) and newcomer Isabella Anderson (outside hitter). Other returning juniors include Joy Kanarik (outside hitter), Blair Lucas (setter), Grace Boehm (middle blocker), Gaffney (defensive specialist), and newcomers Corr (defensive specialist) and Isabella Hartline (outside hitter). The team’s lone sophomore is outside hitter Madeline Boerstra who figures to be a big contributor as well.

“We start the season with a lot of experience with the core of our starters still juniors and with our starting middle Milan out with an ankle injury,” Faz said. “Joy will be battling for one of the starting opposite positions, along with setter Blair Lucas, as our plan is to run a 6-2 offense this season.”

Two key newcomers to the team have the same name: Isabella, as in Hartline and Anderson.

“Our Bellas are both going to play key roles this season,” Faz said. “Hartline comes from playing in Hawaii and brings that total player, as she can play defense and all the positions up front. Anderson brings a big block and big offense and will be playing a big role at opposite.”

With plenty offense returning, plus some impressive newcomers like Anderson and Boerstra, offense shouldn’t be a problem for the Eagles. Finding a libero will be a key to the success of the team in a league featuring three teams that finished ahead of the Eagles last year (Christian Brothers, Rio Americano and El Camino), as well as a strong newcomer this season in Capital Christian, a team that won 20 matches a year ago and reached the section finals before losing to Colfax.

“Our offense is not the problem, but our search for our libero is a big issue, so our ball control is not anywhere close to where we need it to be in the early going,” Faz said. “We’ve had lots of ups and downs.”

The Eagles made the playoffs a year ago, but were eliminated in the first round. Faz is hoping for more this year.

“The goal is always to make to playoffs, but truly going deep into the playoffs is what we expect at Vista,” Faz said. “Improving our ball control will be key to our success, as we need one person to step up and clearly take the libero spot.”

Vista’s next match is at home Thursday against Oak Ridge.