The Year of the Take Back

Ashton O'Halloran

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The Mesa women’s volleyball teams quest for a fifth consecutive conference title was cut short last season by finishing second in the Pacific Coast Conference. This year they will fight to clench the top spot.
With key returning players like Amber Davidson and a fresh approach by Coach Kim Lester, they will once again get a shot to defend their title.

“We should have taken conference last year, but I know this year is our year to shine,” Davidson said.

Heather Hartwell, Joslin Alexander, Denisse Martinez, and Lindsey Jardine round out the five returning sophomores, with Alexander snagging a Second-Team All Conference award last season.
Amber Davidson who was awarded First-Team All Conference last year hopes to lead the way through example.

“Personally, I will play like I know how and I will play smart. I’ll stick to what works and every time I’m playing, I’m playing to win.”

The returning players, while outnumbered by the new recruits, are excited and confident in the fresh team united by a common goal.

“We have a great group of girls that came in. each one of them bringing something to our program that we needed,” said Davidson.

Coach Kim Lester is entering her eighth year of coaching here at Mesa and is keen on the idea of a first place finish. After last seasons close and a 19-7 record she hopes to take this year’s team to the state tournament, and conceivably all the way to the final round as she did in 2005 finishing second in the state.

“We are getting better and better everyday. We have a ton of talent, more depth and I believe we have the potential to very, very, very good this year,” Lester said.

Lester plans to take on this season one game at a time, with up to two matches every week, and new players on the opposing teams, each match up will be extremely important.

“Our conference seems to be getting better every year so it will not be easy. We have to show up every night and compete,” Lester said.

The players have taken notice to the different approaches Coach Lester has implemented this season with practicing on the beach in early July and running tough practices from the beginning.

“She has a new mentality this year along with a new game plan and I think her head start approach is going to really help us out,” Davidson said.

Along with Lester, two assistant coaches will be helping the ladies this year. Ted Summers-Torres who is new to the program and Shannon Scheile a one year veteran.

“Shannon is like our Player’s Coach. She is very knowledgeable in the sport and knows what it takes to be successful,” said Lester. “And I’m very impressed with Ted’s coaching… he gives great feedback, has a mellow personality, and I really feel we work well together,” Lester said.

The Lady Olympians start pre-season with a home opener against Mount San Jacinto College on Wednesday night and finish the week out by taking on the Lady Brahmas of L.A. Pierce College who finished 32-2 last season. Regular conference play begins at 5 pm on October 2nd when the ladies square up at home against Cuyamaca College. Student Ticket Prices are $3 with a valid Mesa ID while general public costs $5.

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