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Hawks volleyball soaring
CV made history last season with playoff appearance
Central Valley reached record heights under Kelly Heeses direction last fall. The Hawks qualified for the postseason and compiled a winning record. - photo by DALE BUTLER/The Courier

Head coach Kelly Heese and star player Julia Ramsey have helped change the culture of Central Valley's varsity volleyball program.

The Hawks have improved each season since Heese and Ramsey landed on campus during the 2013-14 school year.

Central Valley accomplished several firsts last year when it qualified for the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs and compiled a winning record.

"It's like having a second set of eyes out on the court," Heese said while talking about Ramsey's importance to the team. "She sees the court exactly like I do. I don't need an assistant coach."

The Hawks' 2015 roster features 11 players: Ramsey, Alyssa Costa (Sr.), Blanca Espinoza (Jr.), Mariana Garibay (So.), Ellysa Widas (Sr.), Cheyenne Brincat (Jr.), Marissa Camarillo (Jr.), Alondra Gonzalez (Jr.), Adriana Haynes (Jr.), Adria Robinson (Jr.) and Carmen Sanchez (Jr.).

Ramsey, Costa, Espinoza, Garibay, Ellysa Widas are returners.

Brincat, Camarillo, Gonzalez, Haynes, Robinson and Sanchez are newcomers.

"The rapport the girls have on the court is amazing," Heese said. "They have a great connection. That's going to carry them through this season."

Ramsey was selected to the Western Athletic Conference First Team her junior year. She led the Hawks in kills and ranked second in aces.

"She's clearly a standout player," Heese said. "Her play is at another level compared to everyone else. She's a team leader. She's a team player. She's a very unique woman."

Seven of Central Valley's players play volleyball year-round, including Ramsey, Widas, Garibay, Brincat, Camarillo, Gonzalez and Sanchez. The club season started last December and ended in May.

"I'm going to keep pushing for it," Heese said. "I don't care where they play. I just want them to touch a ball. That makes a huge difference. The play is more competitive. It's a confidence booster."

Central Valley finished in fourth place in the WAC standings (5-7) and just missed qualifying for the playoffs during Heese's first year as head coach.

The Hawks made history last fall. Central Valley earned the conference's third and final postseason berth.

Central Valley (2-10) tied for last place in the WAC with crosstown-rival in 2012-13.

"I have very high expectations for this season," Heese said. "We have quite a bit of talent. I don't see any weak spots across the board. My goal for these girls is to go undefeated in conference play. It's very attainable."

No longer a doormat, the Hawks are looking forward to the new season.

Central Valley aims to accomplish more in volleyball. "It's very rewarding," Heese said. "We've turned the corner. That's what my whole goal was when I was asked to take over the program. I didn't expecting anything less. If you put the time and effort into it, you'll reap the benefits."