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Successful Season Wraps Up For Impact Volleyball Squads
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Completing another competitive travel season, the teams in the Impact Volleyball Club based in Escalon enjoyed plenty of success at all levels.

Teams playing include 12-1 Black, 14 Black, 14-2 Purple, 16 Black, 16 Purple and 18 Black.

The 2007-2008 season for Impact 12-1 Black was successful, with five returning players with volleyball experience and seven girls who were new to the game.

"Even though the team was relatively inexperienced, the girls finished the season with an overall record of 28-10," said head coach Yvonne Fachner. "We finished the season ranked seventh out of 65 teams in the Area League - 12 and under division of the Northern California Volleyball Association."

The girls showed consistent improvement throughout the season and this was reflected in their first place finishes in three consecutive tournaments. The girls also finished second in one tournament and fourth in another.

"I am so proud of the girls and their accomplishments this season. They exceeded all of our expectations," said Fachner. "They continually raised the bar for each tournament ... the girls played hard every match."

Playing for Impact 12-1 Black this season were Hannah Butler, Maggie Casteel, Cassidy Caton, Emily Dean, Nikki Desrochers, Mekenna Eisenga, Kylee Irwin, Stacy Jones, Taylor Laugero, Nicole Nicholson, Annie Norenberg and Josie Redberg.

Assisting Fachner this year was Jen Gee, currently on the volleyball roster at Cal State Stanislaus.

"Jen did a great job this year in preparing the girls for competition," said Fachner. "We were extremely fortunate to have her coaching in our club."

Coaching the 14 Black team was Irene Laugero, who said the season brought new challenges for her.

"I've been at the 16 under level for nine years and this year I moved to 14 unders to accommodate my daughter playing on the 12 unders," she explained. "I can definitely say coaching 10- to 14-year-olds was different. As a coach I found it to be very rewarding, frustrating at times, but more than anything, exciting."

Starting off the season with the California Kick-off in the Bay Area, the tournament felt like it lasted 20 hours, said Laugero, rather than the 10 it usually runs because the team did not pick up a win.

"Returning to the gym we worked on how to be a team player, how to focus and the 'never give up' attitude that it takes to play competitive sports," Laugero explained. "I can say for the next two league tournaments we either took the championship or battled for it, taking second. I am so proud of my girls for being 100 percent committed to this season."

Players were Shaylynn Beam, Paige Burrell, Morgan Eisenga, Katie Ferlman, Genna Garrett, Isabel Hoy, Justina Keith, Sydney Leer, Parker Pilati, Alexa Sacchini and Ashton Smart.

"I would like to thank my assistant coach Charlene Swickard for all her help," added Laugero. "Charlene was a huge part of our team's success."

Coaching the 14-2 Purple team this season was Susan Butler with assistant coach Cara Butler. Players were Kaila Olson, Maddie O'Brien, Reilly O'Brien, Ali Poff, Samantha Shipley, Sarah Glover, Maddie Jones, Zazzy Stogdell, Mackenzie Ohe, Mackenzie Rigney and Nina Raspo.

"This year's team was a 'building' season as the majority of the team were newcomers to IVC and new to volleyball in general," said Butler. "Our season was focused on basic fundamentals, improving skills and learning on all aspects of the game. Overall the performance of the team showed abundant improvement and dedication to the team."

Teresa Williamson was head coach for the 16 Black team, assisted by daughter Stephanie.

"To say this season was a good one is an understatement," Williamson said. "With a team full of tremendous skill and positive attitudes, Stephanie and I had everything to look forward to. Placing third at California Kick-off started our successful run."

Unusually seeded 123rd at the Power League Qualifiers even with the strong showing in the kickoff, the girls jumped to 23rd by upsetting City Beach 15 Black in the early going. Then the injury bug hit and the team fell from the silver division to the aqua division in back to back tournaments. Fighting to regain their earlier season form, the 16 Black squad came back healthy and took first at the Spring Classic to get back into the silver division. A highlight of the season was upsetting the rival Delta Valley 16 Blue team and the girls closed out the campaign with a trip to the Great America Tournament in Santa Clara. That included a stop at the amusement park and a limo ride to Capitola for dinner.

"Finishing the season stronger than ever, the girls ironically finished second behind City Beach 15 Black," said Williamson. "Overall, we couldn't have asked for better girls, better parents or a better season."

Players were Anise Abraham, Katie Aprile, Kaitlyn Brayton, Gianna Gallo, Alexa Garrett, Lauren Goulart, Jaci Powell, Juli Powell, Maddie Willett and Megan Willey.

The 16 Purple team was coached by Tom Carroll with assistant Nicki Brown. Carroll said he started out the season posing the question "Who are we going to be?" to his team and ended up with a satisfying answer by season's end.

"In a season filled with season ending injuries to tournaments with just enough people to make it through the weekend, this group of young ladies showed their true colors," he said. "It seems cliché but one simple word is the answer to the question 'who are we going to be' - winners."

Some tournaments were more exciting than others, some weekends were harder than others, said Carroll.

"Although they did not win every game, and the injuries kept piling up they found a way to believe in what they had set out to do at the beginning of the season," Carroll explained. "So through the highs and the lows of a season, this group of young ladies found a way to turn what could have been a disaster into a winning season."

Members of the squad were Jill Rowley, Taylor Harper, Kristi Rigg, Caleigh Smith, Nicollette Laroco, Casey Schmidig, Breanna Brodie, Amira Sulaiman, Renee Pico and Dulce Gaxiola.

Rounding out the Impact program was the 18 Black team coached by Christina Difani-Lore with assistant Jamie Lepard. Team members were Alana Snelling, Tessa Spyksma, Megan Burrell, Alexis Evans, Jackie Lee, Mikaela McCarthy, Annika Rigney, Ryan Ramos, Caitlin Benning and Chelsea Theodore.

"Throughout the season the 18's team has competed well in every tournament and the girls have played their hearts out," said Difani-Lore. "Starting in January at the California Kickoff and ending at the Festival (Reno) these young athletes play so much and many do other sports and activities ... they all do a great job of juggling everything and because of their dedication to the things they do, they have a great future ahead of them."

The team completed its club season in Reno at the 25th annual Volleyball Festival. There, they were joined by three players not on the regular season roster, Alysha McCreary, Genna Garrett and Alexa Garrett, helping out the squad.

"At the Volleyball Festival we played teams from all over the state and country including Rancho Valley Volleyball Club, Vegas Blues and Arizona VBC," explained Difani-Lore.

The squad went 11-5 at the festival to close out the campaign.

"The team improved all year as we continued to bond as a team through tough competition and overnight tournaments," said the coach.

Now that the season has concluded, Laugero said they can all take a breath before getting together in late fall.

"The board of Impact Volleyball Club, Inc. would like to thank all our sponsors, parents, players and our awesome coaches," Laugero said. "Without all of you, Impact Volleyball Club doesn't happen."

The parent information meeting is set for Sunday, Nov. 2 and more information is available by contacting Laugero at 838-8181 or visiting the new website,