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Former Vaq to join GCC greats in Hall of Fame

Angela Brinton-Collins excelled in volleyball, earning induction into Glendale college's Hall of Fame tonight

March 12, 2011|By Edgar Melik-Stepanyan, Special to the News-Press

Somewhere in a storage locker in Montrose lie the MVP trophies she won.

Tucked next to the awards are the other accolades, from her days at Glendale High to her excellence at Glendale Community College, and to her memorable performances at Cal State Northridge.

It's not a part of Angela Brinton-Collins' nature to boast about those awards.

That's why she's hesitant to talk about her numerous accolades, which range from being a two-time All-American in women's volleyball at Northridge, to winning the 1988 Honda Award for being the best athlete in Division II to leading the Matadors to the 1988 National Championships.

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The Montrose resident will be bestowed another honor tonight, when she'll be inducted into the Glendale Community College Athletic Hall of Fame.

She'll be singled out for her play as a Vaquero and Matador, but she'll also let others know something else that speaks volumes about her character.

"It wasn't just me," Brinton-Collins says. "It was my team."

For one year at Glendale College and two years at Northridge, she was a leader of a team that stood out.

She played three years at Northridge, but she spent most of her first year sitting on the bench, playing behind former Flintridge Sacred Heart Academy volleyball Coach Shelli Orlandini.

"Sitting on the bench made me realize that I didn't want to sit on the bench anymore," Brinton-Collins says.

Once Orlandini graduated, Brinton-Collins asked Northridge Coach Walt Ker what she needed to do to make the Matadors her team.

Ker told her she didn't have to change her game. She had to lead.

"I had to show the coaches that I believed that it was my team," Brinton-Collins says.

She was more than a setter. She was a psychologist, a motivator and an encourager on a team that lost in the Division II championship a year before.

She took responsibility for errors; reassured teammates that she was setting them again even after a mistake and led by example.

"She always led with a confident attitude," says Karen Langston, an outside hitter and defensive specialist who played two years with Brinton-Collins. "She never intimidated or excluded people. She was always very positive. She walked the walk."

For all of her team's success during the season, Brinton-Collins was left "devastated" at the end of it.

For the second consecutive year, Northridge lost in the championship match, falling to a UC Riverside squad that it had defeated twice during the season.

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