Fresh Faces and New Placescsudhbulletin November 12, 2022 0 COMMENTS
CSUDH women’s volleyball team has several freshman who played a major role during this season. Photo by Javier Perez
By Jarmiah Gerges, Staff Reporter
Volleyball is a sport in which the team comes first. Winning is impossible if the team does not succeed as a unit. From the service that is received to the set and spike, every gear must turn in order to score. Entering a team as a freshman means learning how to fit into those gears. The California State University, Dominguez Hills volleyball team has made an addition of several freshmen to their starting roster and it has shown strides of strength and potential.
This Toros volleyball team is not impressive when you look at the record sheet. Currently, they sit at 6-19, recently winning two of the last four games to California State University, Chico, and California State University, San Marcos. Looking at the box scores, many people would brush this team off as an easy win, but taking a deeper look into the team would reveal the opposite.
The Toros were able to take a set from the 25th-ranked team in the country, California State University, Los Angeles, pushing them to extra serves in the following two sets, losing in the fourth set.
The Toros pushed the 23rd-ranked team California Polytechnic University, Pomona, to a tough three-game series. The Broncos would eventually capture comeback wins for the first two sets earning them the win. However, the Toros’ fighting spirit as the Broncos struggled, undoubtedly showed their potential.
A closer look at this Toro squad would reveal that four freshmen have been pivotal in the team’s success and are improving every game. These four players have inserted themselves as the saplings this team needed to potentially take this conference by storm.
Outside hitters, Ava Hurry and Cassie Taylor, libero, Angelina Robles and setter, Mya Tillman, have been crucial to this team’s success and potential. These players, two of which come from out of state, Hurry (Henderson, Nev.) and Robles (North Las Vegas, Nev.) came in as freshmen and are already in the starting rotation and leading in stats.
When asked about the future potential of this team, Tillman is sure they will be a serious threat next year and believes that as a unit they are still in their developmental stages which is why the games are so close in score. She thinks as the team grows together, next season will have more wins and less close calls.
Tillman, who substitutes for starting setter Angelina Cabal, has proven to be a consistent player that can provide the much-needed rotational depth in a position that demands the most responsibility of assisting the hitters. Tillman has 282 assists this season and she feels confident that the growing pains of this team will be over by the end of this season if not sooner.
When thinking of Toros, the first thing that comes to mind is the potential the attack has. However, the defense is often overlooked.
Liberos are the pillar of defense in a volleyball team. If a team doesn’t have a good libero, their defensive capabilities are cut in half. For this Toro team, freshman Angelina Robles has proven to be sturdy. Especially after acquiring 419 digs ranked fourth in the CCAA and leading the team with 42 service aces ranking her fifth among the other California collegiate teams. Robles has been a workhorse at libero for this Toro team and continues to grow among her peers who together will continue to oil the gears.
Entering a new environment comes with new rules and culture. Coach Jeniffer Adeva makes sure the team bonds well and knows the regulations of being on the team.
“We all sat down and went over team rules, team culture, everything, and it really engraved in our brains very early on, especially when we got here,” said Hurry.
The two horns for the Toros attack have been Hurry and Taylor who take up spots one and two for the most kills this season (231 and 161 respectively). Both freshmen have paved the way on offense and consistently performed at a high level.
Coach Adeva said at times their offense is up there with the best in the conference and she believes when the gears start turning, they’ll move on from the tough losses and start winning. Taylor and Hurry have come in to work hard.
“They love volleyball you can tell,” coach Adeva said.
The freshmen even live together, Taylor said. “Ava, Nina, Evania, and I all live in the same room. We’re like in a quad. We are like really, really close!”
Being brought into this as a freshman, there is a lot of pressure to perform well on and off the court. Bonding with the upperclassmen on the team to make sure chemistry is high so they can perform better on the court is yet another added pressure.
Yet, the CSUDH women’s volleyball team, which has faced losses over the years, has a sliver of hope that with these powerful fresh faces this team could finally go to some new places.
When asked about the long-term goals for the team, the freshman unanimously answered: “We want a banner up there.”