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Stafford begins first year as William Jessup coach

By: Tom Kellar Gold Country News Service
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The 2008 women’s volleyball team at William Jessup will be a work in progress, but that’s fine with new first-year coach Terry Stafford. He’s looking forward to the challenge of rebuilding a Jessup program that has struggled significantly in the past. “For me, it’s real exciting to be here, I like rebuilding programs,” Stafford said. “I have nine wonderful girls who are really working for each other. They are ‘other’-centered rather than self-centered and working really hard.” Stafford used to coach Granite Bay’s girls volleyball team and the Grizzlies went 11-22 under Stafford last year and were 15-20 in 2006-07. This year’s team is thin, having only nine players. Stafford knows that a key to future success in the California Pacific Conference – a league made up of Bethany, Holy Names, Simpson, Dominican, Pacific Union and Mills universities – depends on getting more quality players to come to the Rocklin campus. “We’re going forward with the nine girls that I have,” Stafford said. “We’ll try and build up to 15 players over the next year or so and start building a college-level program with plenty of players, to do what we need to do.” A key to success this season will be the play of setter Morgan Saunders (Casa Roble), whom Stafford calls his physical, athletic leader on the court and Corissa Jacomini, a transfer from Modesto Junior College who is scheduled to be the team’s No. 1 libero. “There aren’t too many new girls on our team, but we’re really meshing strong,” Saunders said. “I think everyone realizes that they have to play their position. Everyone is taking control of what they need to do.” Obviously since the team’s strength is at the setter and libero positions, a strong defense will be counted on to keep WJ competitive. “We’re putting up a stone wall,” Saunders said. “We’ll try not to let anything get through.” Because he was hired well after the recruiting season, Stafford is downplaying expectations for this season, content to see what his team has and will need in the long term to be successful. The future would seem bright with the school currently in a construction mode, which Stafford says includes the completion of two gyms. “This first year, I’ll come in with eyes wide open and see what needs to be done,” Stafford said.