Head of the Family

Rebecca Sanchez' leadership at setter is a big part of the Gaels' push toward a Horizon League title.

October 12, 2010|By Gabriel Rizk,

The feeling around the Holy Family volleyball program is that this could be the year.

For Gaels setter Rebecca Sanchez, it simply has to be.

As one of just two seniors on the Holy Family roster, it's now or never for Sanchez to be a part of a Horizon League-championship season and a deep CIF playoff run.

Fortunately for Sanchez, the Gaels appear to have their best shot in years to accomplish both.

And, the Gaels, in turn, have been quite fortunate to have Sanchez on board.

"I just think that for her it's going to be that maturity [that leads us]," Holy Family Coach Robert Bringas says. "She knows this is her last year, this is it. She understands what her leadership goal is as a captain of the team and that's a benefit and a plus for this group as a whole.


"They know who their captain is and who their go-to person has to be."

As both a captain and a setter — which itself is a role of direction and authority on the court — Sanchez's position of leadership is twofold.

She's stepped up big in both areas, recording 217 assists and 20 aces, both team highs, and 81 digs to get the Gaels off to a 6-4 start with a 2-0 mark in league and also emerging as the strong voice on the court that the Gaels needed.

"I understand why she's captain," junior outside hitter Ashlee Sandoval says. "She's been trying her hardest to be a louder voice, help out and show that she's being a leader. She's been showing leadership since summer and she's gotten better. Instead of letting us do our mistakes, she actually tells us what we're doing wrong and during the games she talks it up more."

Holy Family has qualified for the playoffs the last five seasons, but never finished higher than second in league during the run and suffered first-round playoff losses each of the last two seasons.

There's still plenty of volleyball to be played this year, but after winning their last three matches by sweep, including a triumph over longtime nemesis and defending league champion Alverno on Sept. 30, the Gaels are feeling confident about their prospects of reaching the next level.

"I really want to get past at least the second round of the playoffs," Sanchez says. "Coach is always telling us, it's one thing to go to CIF and lose in the first round. That doesn't really mean anything. But to be in the top 30 or top 24 or however many teams [in CIF], that would mean something.

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