The 2018 Orange Coast College women’s volleyball team won its first three matches of the season and features several new faces from zip codes both here and abroad as nine out-of-state players highlight longtime head coach Chuck Cutenese’s 16-player roster.
The team has taken nine of its first 10 sets and is off to a strong start.
“It’s definitely the most out-of-state players we’ve had on a team,” Cutenese said. “Having kids from out of state requires a bigger commitment from the players when it comes to housing, finances, etc. From what I’ve seen, it’s a very committed group of women.”
Despite early season scheduling problems, the team has coalesced.
“We are a bit freshmen-heavy, but the newcomers are learning the system quickly and looking at each position, we are full at all of them. Several of our athletes played in multiple sports in high school, which I love because there’s less chance of burnout and they’re more excited for the challenge,” Cutenese said.
With only three returning players and one transfer sophomore, the majority of the Pirate roster will have to learn on the fly against some tough competition, but Cutenese is pleased with the chemistry of his well-traveled team.
“The majority of the athletes all live in the same apartment complex, so there’s a lot of together time between all of them,” Cutenese said. “They’re a very close-knit group already and I only see that getting stronger as the season progresses.”
A key returner to the Pirates in 2018 is libero Rylee Adair, who earned second-team, All-Orange Empire Conference honors for the Pirates last year. As a freshman, Adair’s strong defensive play earned her 501 digs, the third-most in one season in school history. Adding to the experience on defense is sophomore Mackenzie Bill, who played in all 27 matches for OCC and notched 125 digs.