A new head coach and a freshman-heavy team won’t hinder the Pacific
University volleyball Boxers from keeping their goals clear this season.
The six returning Boxers were served a total of 11 new freshmen players to mentor.
“It’s been a challenge and a blessing that every thing’s new,” said
head coach Kip Yoshimura. “But with it being new, it’s fresh. There’s
never a dull moment.”
The first two games of their season reflected the adjustments made to the team.
The Boxers played George Fox in their debut Aug. 31, but fell to the Bruins 3-0. In their next game against the no. 26-ranked Occidental on
Sept. 1, the Boxers lost 3-1.
While it’s been a rough start for the ladies, the team has had many newcomers stand up to the challenge of college volleyball.
Freshman Marie Rewick showed her potential in the game against George
Fox with nine kills, a .273 hitting percentage, six digs and a block.
Rewick is one of the four freshmen Yoshimura has starting for the Boxers.
Yoshimura said, the experience the six returning players hold will give leadership to the freshmen-heavy team. His focus is on the Boxers as a team, he said their unity will win them games.
“No matter what our strengths,” said Yoshimura, “we will focus on our side of the net.”
The returning players are showing leadership for the freshmen, said Yoshimura.
Senior Alexa Block is returning for her third year on the team bringing strong experience. Senior Jade Thompson had an injury this summer, but is looking to be 100 percent and play at her strongest soon. Junior Keahi Braginsky-Ahloo is a well-experienced player in both offense and defense said Yoshimura. Junior Kami Kugler returns serving as a leader to the freshmen. Junior Mariah McHolland has been a very strong player in middle position.
“She plays such a difficult position that the numbers don’t reflect how well she’s doing,” said Yoshimura.
To finish off the returners, sophomore Haley Bedell has experience in both the front and back row.
“We have potential in the long run and for this season,” said
Yoshimura. “I don’t think all the teams can say this but we will get better as the season goes on.”
The Boxers traveled to Thousand Oaks, Calif. to play Chapman, Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, Cal Lutheran and La Verne Aug. 7 and 8.
While sparks of confidence shine through at moments, Yoshimura is determined to have the team change their mental approach to games and win.
“Certainly our goals are to reach our potential individually and as a team,” he said.
Yoshimura came from coaching at Gonzaga University, a Division I school, to coach the Boxers.
“It’s new to me,” said Yoshimura, “but it’s still coaching.”
He has coached not only DI but all the way down to the club level of volleyball. Because of his background, Yoshimura said the transition to Pacific was smooth.
“It’s been a lot of fun getting to know the university and the community,” said Yoshimura. “The more I spend time here, the more I enjoy it.”
The lady Boxers first Northwest Conference game was against Concordia Sept. 12.
Yoshimura said he is convinced the best is yet to come.