By Aaron Valdez
It was not too long ago when the La Salle girls’ volleyball team put together an uninspired season in 2015. The Lancers won only 11 of 29 games while getting bounced out in the first round of CIF.
However, the team quickly worked their way back to powerhouse stature over the following two seasons with the help of longtime Head Coach Tiare Tuitama.
In 2017, La Salle went 28-7 overall and was undefeated in the Del Rey League at 8-0. The Lancers then moved on to the postseason where they were on the brink of winning a CIF-SS title and CIF State title until they were trounced by Sierra Canyon on both occasions.
Skip ahead to this season where Tuitama – who received Coach of the Year honors from a local newspaper in 2017 – has stepped down as head coach and will be succeeded by former South Pasadena coach Shari Iwatani.
“I am very proud to be a part of a school that has a great reputation for core values and a winning volleyball tradition,” Iwatani said in a press release.
Despite inheriting the responsibility of guiding an already developed program, Iwatani is no stranger to such tall tasks. Along with steering the Tigers’ ship at South Pasadena, she has also been a coach at one of the region’s most prestigious volleyball clubs in SGV Elite.
The Lancers have a daunting road ahead of them as their schedule is littered with tough games, including a marquee match-up against defending CIF champion Sierra Canyon on Aug. 28.
The season opener lands on Wednesday as the Lancers hit the road to take on San Marino. Del Rey League action will begin Sept. 11 with a home contest against St. Paul.
La Salle will also be without key outside hitters Sofia Sanchez and Claire Forrest due to graduation. The duo combined for 875 kills and 129 solo blocks in 2017.