After a rough 2021 season in which the team compiled a 2-21 overall record, head coach Jennifer Adeva is aiming to get the Toros back on the winning track. “I’m optimistic,” she says. “We’re young, but we’re talented. I feel like we have the talent this year that we haven’t had at CSUDH in a while.”
The 2019 CSUDH women’s volleyball team finished their season with a record of 14-10, and were looking to build on that success in 2020. But when the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the entire 2020 season, the program was forced to take a step back.
“That was a really tough year,” says Adeva, who has been heading the program since 2011. “I felt we had created a pretty good team, but then we just started losing players. Several decided not to play, and others graduated and moved on. The losses and adversity of 2020 were felt in 2021.”
“It was a bummer,” she continues. “We brought in a lot of new players for 2021, but then lost two outside hitters to ACL injuries. It was a case of ‘Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong.’ The team was very resilient, though, and learned a lot from it.”
Adeva kept the big picture in mind throughout the difficult season, though. “Just like anything, when you win, you don’t want to get too hung up on that, and it’s the same when you lose. You learn from it, and you move forward. That’s where we’re at this year.”
Looking at the 2022 season, Adeva is excited at the way the team has come into the year. “Our attitude and the way we approach our daily routine is enthusiastic and optimistic. I don’t think we had a lot of that last year. Seeing the way the women are responding this year has made me very happy.”
Adeva credits team captains Angelina Cabal, Jenna Sandall, and Macy Kirkwood with building team chemistry this year. “They’ve been instrumental in helping the team buy in,” says Adeva. “They’ve been a big part of creating the culture for our program, having their own meetings with the team and doing things that I haven’t seen in a couple of years. They stepped up and they’re walking the talk.”
The Toros will have their work cut out for them. Adeva feels the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) is the toughest NCAA Division II conference in the nation. She lists Cal State San Bernardino, Cal State L.A., Cal Poly Pomona, and Cal State San Marcos as the top teams, but warns her players that every squad in the CCAA is a challenge.
“A lot of CCAA players have the talent to play in Division I,” says Adeva. “They hit the ball hard, they jump high, and there’s a good amount of athleticism. This conference is tough and they’re going to need to know that. This will be a challenge. Every match is going to be a battle.”
The team got off to a good start during the first weekend of their season, winning two out of three matches in an event held at CSU Monterey Bay’s Otter Sports Complex. Adeva is hopeful that with students back on campus in large numbers, they’ll take the time to check out a match or two at the Torodome, starting with their home opener on Friday, Sept. 2.
“if they want to see some competitive fire and emotion, we have it,” she says. “It’s not just the players on the court, but also the players on the sideline in the box, they’re into it, and it’s fun. If students come, they’re going to see a lot of dynamic play and a lot of fun all across the board.”
The Toro women’s volleyball team opens its home schedule with two games on Friday, Sept. 2: at 10 a.m. against Western Colorado University, and at 4:30 p.m. against Winona State. Both matches are at the Torodome. Student admission is free.