“Honestly, I have high expectations for this team,” said High, who replaces Jennifer Hamm following five seasons at the helm. “The more the team practices together, the more they are going to find that unity and develop their niche.”
Patterson High finished the Western Athletic Conference in fourth place last year.
The team played to a 6-6 league record with a roster full of seniors, including Dani Hansen (middle hitter), Stephanie Cantu (outside hitter), Caitlyn Tanner (outside hitter) and Falysha Corral (setter).
“We’re rebuilding the program from the ground up,” said High, who coached Patterson’s freshmen volleyball team the past five years. “We’re hoping to see a lot of growth from the athletes as they begin competition.”
High cites upbeat and positive attitudes and some promising players as the strengths of this year’s squad.
The team will look to juniors Kiara Job (middle hitter) and Sadie Schut (opposite) for leadership.
“They have a heart for the game,” High said. “They are also passionate about the sport, and I’d like to see them take the lead as our team takes shape.”
Also joining the team are Sadie Schut’s cousin, junior Mariele Schut (outside hitter) and sophomores Lucero Vargas (middle hitter), Samantha Ruiz (setter) and Bailey Boschi (outside hitter).
“There are a lot of hard workers on this team,” Sadie Schut said. “This team has the desire to improve — that’s exactly what we need.”
The Tigers face stiff competition from the rest of the league this season. WAC powerhouse Central Catholic High of Modesto is primed to repeat as champion, with Los Banos High and Livingston High also sending solid squads onto the court.
“We know that we are not an A team right now,” Job said. “But we are bonding and forming relationships.”
High added that the players are committed and are building a foundation for the season during practice.
“We’re trying girls out at different positions and testing their skill levels,” High said. “Soon we’ll know our starting six, and we can go from there.”
Patterson’s season begins Aug. 25 at the Orestimba High Tournament in Newman.
Contact Marc Aceves at 892-6187, ext. 28, or firstname.lastname@example.org. At a glance
•COACH: Tarah High, first season
•LAST YEAR: 6-6 Western Athletic Conference (fourth place)
•KEY LOSSES: Dani Hansen, Stephanie Cantu, Caitlyn Tanner, Falysha Corral
•KEY RETURNERS: None
•TOP NEWCOMERS: Mariele Schut, Sadie Schut, Kiara Job, Lucero Vargas, Samantha Ruiz, Bailey Boschi