“It is just the nature of our conference,” said PLNU head volleyball coach Rochelle Short. “We won our preseason games but we are in a tough conference. The team is definitely looking forward to the remainder of the GSAC schedule. We are halfway through conference play so we know what to expect from them this time around.”
The Sea Lions began the season with nine straight wins, including opening the GSAC season with a victory over Hope International. PLNU struggled in the conference after the 9-0 start, dropping five of the next seven games before convincing wins last week at home over San Diego Christian College and Westmont College 3-0 and 3-1, respectively.
In eight of the Sea Lions’ wins thus far, they have swept every game (3-0) versus the opposition, but lost in straight games in all five of its defeats. PLNU has nine matches remaining on the schedule but has already won over half as many GSAC games than the previous year. They will play five of the remaining matches on the road.
Amanda Bevins, Zoe Beltz, Melissa Boer and Christy Dueck represent the senior leadership for PLNU.
“I’ve definitely been impressed with our seniors,” Short said. “They came into this season with a new coach after being here two to four years and have adjusted to the system we have. They have made it a smooth transition and are very coachable.”
Dueck, a 6’2” middle blocker, and 6’ outside hitter Boer have been at PLNU all four years. Boer was named GSAC Player of the Week because of her performances against San Diego Christian and Westmont. She recorded a total of 23 kills (successful spikes), 18 digs (preventing a spike), 6 blocks and 3 aces (uncontested serves) against San Diego Christian College and Westmont.
Bevens, a 5’8” setter, and Beltz, a 6’ middle blocker, were transfers from Idaho State two years ago.
The freshman class consists of Point Loma High School alum Tori Anderson, a middle blocker; Courtney Fleck, a defensive specialist; Tabatha Henken, an outside hitter; Sheriess Peters, a middle blocker; and Ashley Romberg, a defensive specialist.
“We have relied on seniors and freshman players this season. They have meshed very well together,” Short said.
Juniors Brooke Bryant, a defensive specialist, Kylie Morel, a setter, and sophomore Jillian Doornbus complete the roster.
Short is in her first year as head coach and returns to the program after a stellar playing career at PLNU from 2001 to 2003.
“I love coaching. It is a lot of fun and a great experience,” Short said.
During Short’s years at PLNU, the volleyball program was 92-19 overall, and as a player Short was All-Conference, All-Region and NAIA First Team All-American in her junior and senior seasons. She was also team MVP in 2003 and currently holds 13 school records.
Short has also coached at the club level, most recently as the assistant director for the Temecula Volleyball Club. Short is assisted by Tina Kinkead, who has coached volleyball for 14 years, including stints at Santa Clara University and Creighton (Neb.).
The Sea Lions took to the road Tuesday night against Vanguard University.