Few people have been a part of the storied history of the Mira Costa girls volleyball program than Lisa Arce-Zimmerman and one of her many goals as head coach of the Mustangs is to keep that rich tradition alive.
On Monday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m., generations of the Mira Costa volleyball family will congregate in Fisher Gym for program’s annual Alumni Game, a reunion featuring players from years gone by and the 2011 edition of the Lady Mustangs.
Entering her fifth year as Mira Costa’s head coach, Arce-Zimmerman is looking forward showing this year’s squad the skills that made her a two-time All-Pac 10 player at UC Berkeley and one of the most successful women in AVP history as a professional beach volleyball player.
A 1987 graduate of Mira Costa, Arce-Zimmerman played on the Mustang’s 1985 National Championship team and later served as an assistant under legendary head coach DaeLea Aldrich before taking over the helm in 2007 when she led Mira Costa to its fourth national title with an unprecedented 37-0 record.
“The Alumni Game is a great event to keep the tradition of the program alive,” Arce-Zimmerman said. “I look forward to playing against my team and seeing old friends and former players like Ashley Bowles (UCLA), Kristen Nelson (UCSB) and Teryn Spragg (UCLA).
Although the game will be a friendly competition for this year’s team, it will also serve as a tune up before the Mustangs head to Las Vegas for the Durango Fall Classic, one of the most prestigious tournaments in the nation that includes 11 teams listed in the PrepVolleyball.com Century National Top 100 rankings.
The 48-team tournament also includes five of the top 10 teams ranked in the CIF Southern Section Division 1-AA poll, giving eighth-ranked Mira Costa a good look at its competition as the Mustangs make a run for the program’s 16th CIF championship.
Along with Los Alamitos, the top-ranked team in Division 1-AA, the tournament includes Redondo (No. 3), Edison (No. 4), Mater Dei (No. 5) and Newport Harbor (No. 6). Also representing the South Bay will be Palos Verdes and South Torrance.
“We’ll be considered underdogs in the tournament this year, but we like it that way,” said Arce-Zimmerman, who will be assisted this season by Mira Costa alumni Nancy Mason Reynolds and Lisa’s brother, Rick Arce, who was recently named assistant women’s volleyball coach at CSU Dominguez Hills.
Mira Costa will be led by tri-captains Maddy Klineman (6’2”), Corie Bain (5’10”) and Katie Warshaw (5’7”). Klineman, a senior outside hitter who has committed to UCLA, will be the go-to girl this season for Arce-Zimmerman who said she is excited about her team’s versatility.
“We’re going to be creative,” Arce-Zimmerman said. “We’re going to have Bain (a junior setter) hit some this year and we’ve moved (senior setter) Warshaw to libero to utilize her talents.”
Joining Klineman as outside hitters will be Gracye Campbell (6’) and Gracie Chavers (5’10”). Starting middle blockers include Kelsey McIntire (6’), Lexi Millington (5’10”) and Gabi Rosenfeld (5’11”).
“We expect to have a well balanced attack but defense will be our strength,” Arce-Zimmerman said. “This team doesn’t give up and improves day-by-day. We’ll be very competitive.”
Mira Costa began its season in Honolulu, HI last month at the Ann Kang Invitational tournament which featured six teams ranked in the top ten in CIF Southern Section polls.
After the Mustangs lost 22-25, 22-25 in a hard-fought match to eventual champion Edison (Huntington Beach), they entered the Gold Division as the final seed of eight teams after going 1-1 in Pool DD.
In its first Gold Division match, Mira Costa fell to top-seeded Newport Beach in three sets but proceeded to defeat Bay League rival Palos Verdes 21-15, 25-16, 15-1 and Hawaii Baptist 25-15, 25-13 to finish in fifth place. Finishing ahead of Mira Costa were Edison, Moanalua, Mater Dei and Newport Harbor. Palos Verdes tied for 7th place.
“We gained a lot of confidence as a team,” Arce-Zimmerman said in reference to her squad’s play in Hawaii. “Playing there showed our versatility with many different lineups. It gave up a good overview of the steps needed to take if we want to succeed. The girls really showed the fire to compete.”
Mira Costa has a rematch with Edison when the Mustangs travel to take on the Chargers at 5 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.
For information regarding the Mira Costa Alumni Game, contact Arce-Zimmerman at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at miracostagirlsvolleyball.com.
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