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Scorpions, Spartans ready to rock

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The Camarillo and Rio Mesa high school girls’ volleyball teams share the same goal. They both want a Pacific View League crown.

Camarillo, which surrendered its title to Oxnard last fall, wants to regain the banner.

Rio Mesa, which hasn’t won a league championship in recent memory, wants to grab the No. 1 spot after sharing second place with Camarillo in 2012.

The Scorpions and Spartans sported identical 7-3 league records last year while Oxnard went 10-0.

Here’s a closer look at the local squads:

CAMARILLO SCORPIONS

The Scorpions are in unfamiliar territory.

Camarillo won’t be defending a league title for the first time since the 2008 season. The Scorpions’ run of four consecutive Pacific View championships ended last fall.

“It’s time to regroup,” Camarillo head coach Rob Vandermay said.

“We have a new group of girls who are ready to contribute. They’re already building chemistry with the seniors.”

Senior libero Shannon Hill, the lone returning starter from last season, is the team’s glue player.

“We didn’t have the best summer, and all the girls said it was because Shannon wasn’t here,” Vandermay said about his captain, who was away at a college recruiting visit. “When she returned, everyone was excited. The team feels confident when Shannon is playing.”

Hill verbally committed to play college volleyball at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Miranda Faulkner does it all for the Scorpions. The versatile senior lines up at middle blocker, outside or opposite hitter.

Vandermay said Faulkner is the team’s hardest hitter.

Taylor Brown, a junior middle blocker, is the Scorpions’ most improved player.

Brown, who is 6 feet tall, was a Camarillo cheerleader as a freshman before Vandermay convinced her to try volleyball.

“I first saw Taylor cheerleading for one of our boys’ volleyball games,” Vandermay said. “I noticed her height and asked her to join the team. She wasn’t brand-new to the game. She had some experience playing club volleyball.”

Brooke Parry, a junior middle blocker, is a standout blocker with a devastating swing. Her brother, Brandon, suits up for the Camarillo boys’ volleyball team.

Juniors Makenna Clark and Julia Sohn are top-notch starting outside hitters.

Rebecca Sexton, a junior, is one of the best setters in the Pacific View.

Alexa Covey and Julia Petrinec provide depth at outside hitter and opposite hitter, respectively.

Covey’s older brother, Corbin, was a standout on the Camarillo football and boys’ basketball squads last year.

Carly Cameron, Danielle Cohen, Chelsea Mora and Lauren Van Ouwerkerk boost Camarillo.

“I’m excited for the season,” Hill said. “We have a lot of new faces. They’re all ready to contribute. We’re not the tallest team, but we’re all competitors.”

RIO MESA SPARTANS

The Spartans haven’t missed a beat with first-year head coach Chris Holdsworth.

Holdsworth has coached the Rio Mesa freshman boys’ and girls’ teams the last two years. Holdsworth will also lead the boys’ varsity squad in the upcoming season.

The new coach took over for Jeff Holloway, who stepped down after the boys’ season ended in the spring for family reasons.

Holloway guided the Spartan girls for six seasons.

“Being a head coach in varsity is more than just coaching,” said Holdsworth, who played volleyball at Oxnard High. “You really need to be a mentor and connect with your players. Luckily, the girls have been responding to my philosophy.”

Rio Mesa hopes to build on its momentum from last season.

The Spartans moved into a second-place tie in the league standings on the final day of the 2012 regular season after defeating Camarillo in four sets.

“We had one of our best years in a long time,” senior captain Katelynn Womack said. “Camarillo has always been a great team, and to beat them was amazing. We want to have a better year this season.”

Womack is one of the best outside hitters in the league. She wants to play college volleyball.

Holdsworth shuffled the lineup after starting outside hitter Anabel Barela, a junior, suffered an ACL injury. Barela will miss the entire season.

Shyleya Mora, a junior, takes over at outside hitter after suiting up at opposite hitter in 2012. Senior Hannah Swangler moves from middle blocker to opposite hitter.

“They’re all team players,” Holdsworth said. “They have accepted their new roles. Hannah and Shyleya are going through some growing pains but will eventually adjust.”

Juniors Cece Lucas and Hannah Sussex form a dynamic duo at middle blocker.

Maeve Hanafin, a junior, is an up-and-coming setter.

Meagan Larson, a senior captain libero, gets the offense going with her solid playmaking abilities.

“(Holdsworth) has us going in the right direction,” Womack said. “He’s teaching us discipline. We’re all getting better. He focuses on not making the small errors that will cost us in a tight five-set match.”

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