College of Marin Beach Volleyball began their inaugural season with a trip to Gilroy to face the Gavilan College Rams. The teams played a pair of matches and while the Mariners were defeated in both, it was a great start to the year.
The team features many familiar faces from the indoor volleyball team. One pairing is that of Emma Harris and Salomi Galodamu, both stalwarts for the indoor team. Emma Harris was named to the Bay Valley All Conference Second Team in November. In their first matchup they fell to the Gavilan 1's 21-9 and 21-11 but improved in the second match and fell 21-13 and 21-17.
Alejandra Leon is back and ready for Beach Volleyball, her partner is a former Mariner Diana Patrick. Patrick played indoor for College of Marin from 2013-2014 before competing for two season at Life Pacific College in Southern California. Patrick is a former First Team All-Conference player for the Mariners and is joined by 2017 First Team All-Conference player Leon. This pairing fell 21-9 and 21-11 in their first match. In the second they improved and lost 21-15 and 21-7.
Sarah Harris, setter for the indoor team is joined by indoor Libero/DS Hellen Signaran. Harris received honorable mention for her 2017 indoor volleyball season. The freshman pair work well together in the sand as they fell 21-9 and 21-11 in the first match but nearly forced a third set in their second 21-11 and 21-19.
There are some fresh faces in the Beach Volleyball parings as Erika Elde, a San Marin High School graduate is paired with returning indoor player, Ashley Chanthongthip. Both Novato natives, Changthonghip is a Novato High graduate, but their former high school rivalry will not dampen their College of Marin partnership.
Indoor veteran Francis Marin is paired with recent high school graduate Mia Valadez. Valadez just graduated from Franklin High School in Stockton last December and is at College of Marin and ready to compete immediately.
In the first match Eide and Chanthonghip fell 21-10 and 21-6 while Marin and Valadez were defeated 21-6 and 21-4. They fiipped pairings in the second match as Marin and Chanthongthip fell 21-5 and 21-5 while Eide and Valadez went 21-10 and 21-5.
Coach Lisa Gera was pleased on her team's progress in the nascent stage of the program's development. "We shook the nerves and scores didn't dictate how we played. We learned a lot about our mental toughness and how to fight through adversity," said Gera on the match.
The Mariners have a twelve game schedule in front of them with matches at Sierra, Feather River and West Valley upcoming. It will be a hard fought season, but it is clear this is a team that can do it.