Spartans Hope To Turn Volleyball Page

MONTEBELLO - 9/20/10 - As the first year coach of the Schurr High girls' volleyball team, Tony Ugalde hopes the team has finally turned a corner.

"We're trying to turn around the attitude of losing," Ugalde said. "This program hasn't been successful in recent years. So, we're trying to turn it around."

And how do you do that?

"If you get the right kids, you can turn it around in one year," he said. "I think we're going to surprise some teams this year."

Ugalde said leading the team are his setters, senior Jasmine Mariscal - who is the captain - and sophomore Jasmine Macias.

"They're our setters, so they're like the quarterbacks on the team," Ugalde said. "They set up the shots for our outside hitters and our middle blockers."

And one of those middle blockers should really stand out, Ugalde said.

"We have a junior who's an accomplished middle blocker in Alysha Miller," Ugalde said. "What she does is protecting at the front net and she's also our middle hitter. She's pretty much in the trenches when it comes over the net."

Ugalde added she'll be complemented by a trio of outside hitters, sophomores Laura Sandoval and Bridget Gonzalez and junior Corrina Soriano.

"They pretty much attack the ball and spike it over the net," Ugalde said of that trio.

Doing the job on defense should be defensive specialists junior Michelle Ramirez and sophomore Prestley Hernandez.

"They are our back row players," Ugalde said. "They dig the ball. The serve as our diggers and are passers in the back."

So, how is it coming in as a new coach?

"It's easier with a young team, especially because I'm bringing in a new system," Ugalde said. "When you bring in a new system it's easier for the younger kids to pick up on it."

And since the Almont League features powerful teams like Bell Gardens High and San Gabriel High, what would make this year a great year?

"What would make this a successful season would be finishing in the top three in Almont League and making it to the (CIF Southern Section) playoffs," Ugalde said. "I think it's realistic. I also think if we can find the confidence to play, we'll be fine."

Marisal, who has played two and a half years at the varsity level, said she's excited to be playing for Ugalde.

"I really like him," she said of her new coach. "I like his new ideas and the way he brought the team together."

(Shel Segal can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .)

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