Scorpion Volleyball Team Looks Strong
August 22, 2007
Marcus Young has stepped into the position as the new Scorpion head volleyball coach with a talented team that has high expectations.
“I've come to a good situation,” Young said. “The team was pretty much set when I got here.”
In their first year in the NAIA in 2006, the Scorpions finished the season 27-12, including a 10-1 record in the Red River Athletic Conference. With perennial powerhouse Houston Baptist University no longer in the NAIA, the Scorpions are looking for big things in 2007.
"I'm very excited to be here,” said Young, who started his position August 1, only days before the first day of practice. “We have a very good team. We have the potential to do very well this season.
Young took over after the departure of Bruce Atkinson, who resigned after one season to take over as head volleyball coach at the University of Hawaii-Hilo, an NCAA Division II institution. Atkinson had recruited the eight new faces on the squad.
Four players return from the 2006 season – 5-10 senior outside hitter Jenny Ashley (Dallas, Tex.), 6-1 junior outside hitter Katie Japp (Omaha, Neb.), 5-2 sophomore defensive specialist Viviana Lozano (Brownsville, Tex.) and 5-6 setter Nancy Juma (Nairobi, Kenya).
The new Scorpions promise to make things exciting, especially middle blocker Talita Milasauskas (Sao Paulo, Brazil), outside hitter Claudia Alarcon (Lima, Peru), and setter Daianarah Bracero (Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico). Alarcon and Bracero transferred from Miami Dade College, a perennial volleyball powerhouse in the NJCAA.
Bracero is expected to be a dynamic force, after two years experience at Miami Dade College. At 5-11, she provides the Scorpion an extra bonus with size at the net.
“We should be strong at the setter position with Dainarah,” Young said.
“She's capable of putting the ball everywhere on the court, setting it up for all of our hitters. She plays her position very well. She has a lot of setting experience, and is capable of running the offense every time at that position.”
Juma, who was a reserve setter last year for the Scorpions, will relieve Bracero at the setter position when needed.
Japp (6-1) and Alarcon (5-11) provide the Scorpions athleticism on the outsides, bringing plenty of experience to that position. Japp will be the floor captain.
“We'll be very strong on the outsides with Katie and Claudia,” Young said. “Both have very good ball control, and are very capable of hitting the ball anywhere on the court, and both are strong hitters. They play good defense and are very good blockers.”
Freshmen Nikki Barreda (5-8, Brownsville, Texas) will provide depth at the position and should learn from the experienced juniors.
Milasauskas (6-2) is expected be a force that opponents will respect. The athletic freshman plays with a focused intensity on the court.
“Talita is our top middle blocker,” Young said. “She has big hands, blocks the heck out of the ball, can pound the ball, has a devastating jump serve. It will be hard for the teams to get by her.”
Backing up Milasauskas but expected to see a lot of time on the court are freshman Jenissa Arrambide (6-2, Donna, Texas) and Jacque Touchet (5-10, Brownsville, Texas). “Jenissa and Jacque need experience, but they has a tremendous potential,” Young said. “They will learn from the others on the front line.”
Ashley, the only senior on the team, is the veteran on the team who has been with the Scorpion program since she was a freshman. She’ll be playing on the front line against the net.
“Jenny is passing very well, and is a very good hitter on the right side,” Young said.
Lozano will be the team libero, the defensive specialist who can substitute freely. She was a backup defensive specialist in 2006.
“Vivi is very quick out there, because of her experience and quickness on the court,” Young said.
Lesly Montes, (5-2, Brownsville, Texas) and Jenny Vela (5-2, McAllen, Texas) will be ready to hit the floor to help the Scorpions in certain defensive rotations.