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Sports: A Noozhawk Partnership with Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table, The Lab, and American Riviera Bank

Returning Starter Shaw Called On to Carry SBCC Volleyball

The sophomore libero from Dos Pueblos High is expected to anchor the Vaqueros' defense.

Vanessa Shaw is the only returning starter on the Santa Barbara City College women’s volleyball team, but she built a pretty good foundation last year. The 5-foot-6 sophomore libero from Dos Pueblos High School led the Western State Conference in digs (455) and was a second-team All-WSC choice.

“She’s going to anchor our defense,” said coach Ed Gover, who’s entering his 17th season.

Shaw and opposite hitter Shayna Cooperstone are the lone returners from last year’s squad that went 11-9 and tied for second in the WSC with a 4-4 mark. The Vaqueros, who open Friday at Pasadena, were 9-3 at home in 2007. The home opener will be at 6 p.m. Sept. 12 vs. Santa Rosa.

The newcomers are led by 5-foot-8 hitter Jessica Tune, 5-foot-10 middle blocker Samantha Potter and setter Amelia Shugrue. Angelica Smith, who competed on the SBCC track team, and 5-foot-10 Tara Ahern are expected to fill the middle blocker slots. The Vaqueros have a pair of local products in opposite Maria Mayer (San Marcos), the tallest player at 6 feet, and defensive specialist Nicole McCracken (Dos Pueblos). Mayer will be out for a week or two with an ankle sprain.

“We’ll run the same type of offense, but we’re not as experienced in the middle, so we’ll be predominantly an outside-hitting team,” Gover said. “At the moment, our strengths are our energy and chemistry. Once we get enough practice time, I think our ball control will be another strength. We’ll learn how to score points by chipping away at ‘em in the corners, on roll shots and tip shots.”

Marcelo Duarte, an assistant for the Vaquero men’s spikers, will serve as Gover’s assistant with Katie Randall, a two-time first-team All-WSC setter, working as a graduate assistant.

Matches still will be best three-of-five games with rally scoring (point on every serve), but the games have been shortened from 30 to 25 points. The fifth game still will be to 15.

“It’s more of a fast race than a long marathon,” Gover said. “You don’t have the margin of error that you did when games went to 30.”

Gover added that his team’s success will depend on how much they improve.

“We take them from a ground-zero level and try to improve to become much better players,” he said. “If we do our job well and we learn well, it will show in our win-loss record. Our main goal is to get better and better every single practice.”

Dave Loveton is Santa Barbara City College‘s sports information specialist.

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