Roster boost takes Reedley College volleyball skyward

Tigers have doubled their depth to 15 players, including five returnees as season opens on Aug. 25 at Cuesta College

Reedley College players undergo live contact during an intrasquad scrimmage at the college’s practice facility on Aug. 12. (Danny Jimenez)
Reedley College players undergo live contact during an intrasquad scrimmage at the college’s practice facility on Aug. 12. (Danny Jimenez)
Will Goldbeck
Published August 15, 2023  • 
12:00 pm

REEDLEY – There’s almost nowhere to go but up for the 2023 Reedley College women’s volleyball team.

One thing that’s up for head coach Mariah Roby-Stewart is the number of players. After having only six players on the roster for much of last season (when the Tigers recorded just two wins, both over Columbia), the Reedley roster currently is at 15 players.

Topping the list of veterans is two-sport athlete Dakota Vermilya (Hoover, Fresno), who led RC in kills last season with 53 but also had 51 errors. Also back are outside hitter Nadia Rosenfeld (Kingsburg), middle blocker Erica Hafkey (Minarets) and defensive specialist Bianka Hernandez (Hanford). Setter Haley Thomas (Mt. Whitney, Visalia) also returns after missing last season due to injury.

The list of freshman Tigers includes Kailynn Rios (Redwood, Visalia), Gabriella Leon (Lindsay), Jamie Clothier (Immanuel, Reedley), Jayda Clother (Granite Hills, Porterville), MacKenzie Rodrigues (Lemoore), MacKenzie Romaine (Chowchilla), Karey Rodriguez (Redwood, Visalia), Lilian Martinez (Reedley), and  Olivia Medina (Roseville). Sophomore Hannah Christenson (Fresno, Bullard) is also on the roster.

The new season begins on Friday, Aug. 25, at Cuesta College in San Luis Obispo. The Tigers home opener is Thursday, Aug. 31, with Lassen College at 2 p.m. Conference action begins at Merced College on Wednesday, Sept. 13.

Football team welcomes Reedley Youth football during intrasquad

Saturdays are for Reedley College football in 2023. The first Saturday of the new season brought out a near record crowd to the Reedley College practice field on Aug. 12 for the annual Big Brother Barbecue and scrimmage. Members of the Reedley Youth Football Buccaneers joined the close to 90 members of the Tiger squad in warmups for the scrimmage.

Reedley College football players and young guests with Reedley Youth Football pose for a team shot after the Tigers’ intrasquad scrimmage on Aug. 12 at the RC practice field. The young players had the opportunity to work out and share drills with the college players. (Danny Jimenez)

This Saturday, Aug. 19, the Tigers get to hit someone else as they travel to Paso Robles for an 11 a.m. controlled scrimmage with the Santa Barbara City College Vaqueros.

A complete preview of the 2023 Tigers and an interview with head coach Rob Hartenfels is planned for next week.

Women’s soccer team scrimmaging in preparation for opener

Every year, the Reedley College women’s soccer team improves a little bit.

In 2022, the Tigers of head coach Onesta Francis finished fourth in the Central Valley Conference standings and won a Northern California Regional playoff game before being eliminated by City College of San Francisco.

The 2023 Tigers got their season started on Aug. 11 with a scrimmage against the Alumni and have another scheduled scrimmage on the Reedley pitch on Friday, Aug. 18, against the Madera Strykers before officially opening the new season on Friday, Aug. 25, against the Allan Hancock College Bulldogs in Santa Maria.

The first home match for Reedley is set for Tuesday, Aug. 29, with the Modesto Junior Football College Pirates. Conference play begins on Sept. 12 at Taft College.

As of last week, the size of the Lady Tiger roster is down to 20, about four players less than last season. “Sometimes less is more,” said the RC coach after the Friday night Alumni scrimmage.

Leading the 2023 Tigers will be two all-state selections from last season, Krysta Casas and Nazia Nunez. Casas (Dinuba) led the 2022 Tigers in goals scored with 13 while Nunez (Visalia) was right behind with 12. “They both continue to get better,” Francis said of the pair.

Francis, who is assisted by Diego Haro of Selma, missed the Tigers early workouts as he was watching his Bullard High School standout Lynn Williams of Fresno, play in the FIBA World Cup in Australia and New Zealand. Williams did not play in the first two matches. “The experience was amazing,” said Francis.

Will Goldbeck
Mid Valley Times | Contributor