Courtesy Bakersfield Californian
BAKERSFIELD - The Bakersfield College women's volleyball team is looking to continue its run of recent excellence entering the 2019-20 season.
The Renegades have made it three consecutive Western State Conference-South championships and will be looking to make it a four-peat with the new year about to get underway this week.
Last year the Renegades advanced to the 2018 CCCAA Women's Volleyball State Championships before falling short against Fresno City College in the first round. With the new campaign officially here, head coach Carl Ferreira said his team is focused on the here and now, starting with Saturday's home doubleheader against Mt. San Antonio (10 a.m.) and Fullerton College (2 p.m.).
"Every year is a new year. You are always looking to create what's next," said Ferreira, who took home coach of the year honors from the California Community College Women's Volleyball Coaches Association and within the Western State Conference-South. "As a coach you're always trying to reinvent yourself from the previous season, you are not wanting to stay the same."
BC is returning just eight players, although the team does bring back some talent defensively. Mainstay players on the roster include outside hitters Lanie Camarillo (Liberty High School graduate), who led BC last season with 4.03 kills per set, and Penelope Zepeda (Frontier), who was close behind (3.50 kills per set). Also back is middle blocker Ryan Bayne (Stockdale), who had an impressive 70 block assists and 11 solo blocks.
Another returner, not to be forgotten, is the 2018 WSC-South Libero of the Year Jessica Merante (Bakersfield Christian), who led the conference with 412 digs and averaged 4.63 kills per set.
The Renegades will have big shoes to fill at the setter position after WSC-South Player of the Year and AVCA 1st Team All-American, Sarah Armendariz, moved on to Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville. Ferreira, however, is looking for freshmen Francesca Hernandez (Bakersfield High) and Sophia Palm (Bakersfield High) to transition into that spot and fill the void.
Ferreira does not feel the pressure of last year's success because the focus of the team is one match at a time.
"I am a present type of guy and I coach the same way; the past years are gone," he said. "This is the most important team I have coached in my life because it's the only one I can give energy to right now."