The last two seasons have been almost a dream for the Turlock Christian volleyball team who captured back-to-back section titles with coach Ken Wynne at the helm before he decided to retire on top.
Now the Eagles of TC welcome a new head coach in Ashlee Towns, who was previously in North Carolina, along with a new conference, which the team will be competing in for the first time in this upcoming season.
It is the Central California Athletic Association, and the Eagles are the newly added squad after competing in the Southern Athletic League.
“I don’t want it to be a rebuilding year and the tradition we hope to move it on. Parents think its rebuilding but I don’t want to hear that,” said Towns, who was a volleyball club coach for the past seven seasons. “We are dedicated to this program and the foundation and no reason we shouldn’t expect a great season this year.”
The team also says goodbye to their former superstar in Sarah Amaral who was the captain and kills leader for the previous four years but the team returns Nichole Sanders who looks to be in the best volleyball shape she has been in and should be the leader of this year’s squad.
“The girl we’re looking for to lead is junior Nichole [Sanders]. She is a dynamic player who will be a huge threat for kills, digs in the middle and all around,” said Towns. “When we saw her we couldn’t believe we have that talent and she should be a huge asset and big in our success.”
Copying the team’s total of a 23-11 overall record will be a hard task to accomplish once again but the future looks bright with Towns as the head coach, who knows the expectations are high for the players and parents.
“I was aware of their success coming in and for me it’s sort of a challenge because there are no low expectations and coming with parents and players used to winning,” Towns said. “We need to set it how you want it to look. We haven’t changed much. Just need to work with the girls individually.”
Another new technique that coach Towns will implement into the new year is conditioning.
“What we’re used to and focused more on is conditioning to have fresh legs and this year we won’t have as deep of a bench so that’s been the big thing,” said Towns.
Along with Towns, her assistant Aubrey Larsen will help the squad tremendously with workouts.
In a new conference, new team, and a new head coach, the Eagles 2014 should be an interesting year that will be filled with many questions but the fact is that this is a winning program and it should be a competitive year.
“For me we’re just trying to get an idea for competition and don’t know much about opponents. We will be serious because the traveling will be lengthier,” said Towns. “But for me it’s exciting to play schools we’re not used to and we’re not intimated because we’re all going in fresh this year.”
The Eagles new year will begin at home in a matchup against Stone Ridge Christian at 5 p.m. on Aug. 30.