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November 1, 2005 > Ohlone Women's Volleyball

Ohlone Women's Volleyball

A building year for the Renegades

With a new coach and many new players, the Ohlone Renegades Women's Volleyball team is in the midst of a building year but still an exciting group to watch. Coach Jamie Cortez, an Ohlone alumna from Cal State East Bay (Hayward), has returned to help the team form a cohesive unit that promises to become a conference powerhouse. She notes that while although there was no time to recruit this year and some Ohlone players are completely new to the game, "We have a tremendous group of girls who are eager to learn and working hard."

Entering the second half of conference play, the Renegards are working to increase their win percentage, facing Cabrillo College on Nov. 9 at home, traveling to Foothill College at Los Altos Hills on Nov. 11, and facing Gavilan College on Nov. 16 in a final home game. Two sophomores, Angelica Benjamin and Donnalyn Sanchez are leading the team, creating a solid player core for next year. Freshman Kaycie Zimmerman, a dual sport athlete (basketball, volleyball), Melanie Inouye and Jessica Sodderholm, another dual sport athlete (softball, volleyball) will be great assets next year along with fellow team members Nahal Nassabeh, Heather Flynn, Taylor Stevenson, Susanna Bumb and Aoife Sands.

Ohlone faces tough competition in their conference; first and fourth placed community college teams in Northern California are in the Coast Conference. Conference players are coming from strong high school programs and play year round. Cortez says, "Volleyball in California is very strong; players are coming from well-known club programs with impeccable training." All Ohlone players are local, but the coach has been in touch with some players from other areas of the country who are interested in Ohlone's programs.

Current high school players and women interested in finding out about Ohlone Renegades volleyball are encouraged to talk with Coach Cortez and come to the games. She invites those in other sports or women who simply want to add some extra activity to their college experience to "check it out and see if this is something for you." Volleyball classes in the off-season can provide a glimpse of competitive league play as well. "The door is open to everybody including those who have never played and others who have been away from the game for a couple of years."

Success in volleyball is based on the ability to work well with others. "This is a team sport that relies on several top players to excel with a team rather than one stellar athlete to carry the team." Cortez cautions that personal conflicts are left behind when the women step on the court and all players work hard to help the team. She says, "I enjoy the team; I enjoy the sport and try to create an environment where everyone is going to have fun." The perception that athletes must be tall to excel at Ohlone volleyball is untrue. "Height definitely helps," says Cortez, but adds, "My tallest player is 5'8" and my shortest player has the best vertical. It's all about how big your heart is and how badly you want it." She notes, "There is a position in the game and on the court for all body types."

Coach Cortez wants the Tri-City community to know that the team welcomes them to come out and see what is going on. Admission to the games is free and she would love to have local high school players meet her and the players. "The team is as strong as the community makes us," says Cortez. "We would love to have community members come to our games, become a part of us and cheer us on."

Women's Volleyball games remaining at Ohlone College:

Wednesday, November 9; vs. Cabrillo College 7 p.m.
Wednesday, November 16; vs. Gavilan College 6:30 p.m.

Ohlone College Women's Volleyball
Head Coach Jamie Cortez
(510) 659-6051

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