Camarillo netters are the class of PVL

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© Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Scorpion players celebrate a four-game victory over Oxnard on Tuesday. ACHS occupies first place in league. © Richard Gillard/Acorn Newspapers
Rob Vandermay didn’t have to think long to pinpoint the low point.Vandermay, the head coach of the Camarillo High girls’ volleyball team, recalled the nadir, a five-set loss at Hart on Sept. 20 that dropped the Scorpions to 7-6.

Riding a three-match losing streak, the Scorpions were at a crossroads.

Vandermay and assistant coach Steve Yoshimoto talked for hours after the Hart setback on how to motivate the girls.

A week later, Camarillo faced Buena, a team the Scorpions had never beaten in school history.

Camarillo persevered, pulling out an epic 25-12, 21-25, 25-23, 23-25, 15-4 victory against the Bulldogs.

The Scorpions had won 11 straight matches entering Thursday’s late outing against Pacifica.

“Our desire to beat Buena was so great,” said Noelle Berry, a senior outside hitter. “It boosted everyone’s confidence beating Buena for the first time.

“It is a symbol of how far we can go in the CIF and eventually—hopefully—take that championship.”

The Scorpions, the No. 7 team in the CIF-Southern Section Division 2-A poll, won their fourth straight Pacific View League championship by topping rival Oxnard on Tuesday.

They swept the season series from the Yellowjackets and close out the regular season at 6 p.m. Tuesday at Rio Mesa.

“It took everyone working together and keeping a positive attitude,” Berry said.

“We knew what was at stake. We had a desire to win, to do it for our school, for us and each other.”

Berry led the team with 143 kills entering Thursday’s match.

A middle blocker in 2010, Berry shifted to her more natural position of outside hitter this season. She’s improved her mental toughness, digging and blocking while throwing down thundering spikes.

“My assistant coach, Steve Yoshimoto, helped me personally with my play on the court,” Berry said.

“Blocking was a big thing. He works with the whole team on blocking, which has improved since the beginning of the season.”

The outside hitter also credited opposite Hannah Kimball and libero/defensive specialist Caitlin Pirruccello for their improved play while operating new positions.

Berry, an honors student with a 4.2 grade-point average, wants to play college volleyball.

Next weekend, she plans to visit Clarkson University in New York, which has piqued her interest in its volleyball and preveterinarian programs.

Kimball has received interest from Division II and III schools while standout setter Dani Helland has committed to Briar Cliff University in Sioux City, Iowa, according to Vandermay.

Pirruccello, a senior, has been a major factor on the court.

“Our set goal is to win CIF,” Pirruccello said after Wednesday’s practice. “Everyone needs to want to practice. Everyone needs to want to win.”

Pirruccello, who played soccer for two seasons at ACHS, is an honors student who wants to study nursing at the University of San Francisco.

Camarillo is a deep, explosive team with talented studentathletes at every position.

Middle blockers Alex Mc- Ginley and Ashley DeWolfe (26 blocks apiece entering Thursday) form the Great Wall of Camarillo.

Abby Beillen is a solid middle blocker who is fighting for playing time after fracturing her hand earlier this season.

Middle hitter Leah Ramsaier is an “incredibly positive” player who fires up her teammates, Vandermay said.

Pirruccello is part of a stingy defensive rotation with fellow liberos/defensive specialists Erin Skoblick and Shannon Hill.

An all-league player a year ago, senior Jo Rosario is a setter/ opposite who would start for other PVL squads.

Jenna White is a consistent outside hitter. She led the team with 34 aces after the victory at Oxnard.

Michelle Valovcin hits well at any front row position. Vandermay expects the junior outside hitter to be a dominant force in 2012.

Although the Scorpions enjoyed a memorable regular season, Camarillo doesn’t want the fun to end too early.

“We can be happy,” Vandermay said, “but we can’t be satisfied.”

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