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Canyons Women's Volleyball Set to Start 2023 Campaign

By Mari Kneisel/COC Sports Information 

College of the Canyons women's volleyball returns to the Cougar Cage for its 2023 season opener on Friday, Aug. 25, after a momentous 2022 season that culminated with a conference championship and second straight trip to the CCCAA State Championship Tournament. 

Canyons finished the 2022 season ranked No. 6 in the state according to the final CCCWVCA state rankings. The Lady Cougars were 20-9 on the year with a perfect 12-0 mark vs. Western State Conference (WSC), South Division opponents. 

The conference title was the program's seventh (1999, 2000, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2022) while the trip to the state championship tourney was the fifth overall (2007, 2015, 2017, 2021, 2022). Canyons was competing in the postseason for the ninth consecutive season, the 19th playoff appearance in program history.

Part of that postseason run included a matchup with Irvine Valley College, the Cougars' opponent for the 2023 season opener.

In fact, COC faced off against Irvine Valley twice in the 2022 season. The Lasers walked away with a 3-0 victory in the regular season meeting. However, Canyons bounced back at the CCCAA SoCal Regional Finals, beating IVC 3-1 to book its trip to the state tourney.

That remarkable playoff run came to a close during the state championships at the hands of No. 1N San Joaquin Delta College in a 3-0 (25-18, 27-25, 25-14) loss.

Canyons honored 14 sophomores at the end of the 2022 season, leaving a large vacancy to fill heading into the 2023 campaign.

However, co-head coaches Lisa Hooper and Clay Timmons worked to welcome a new crop of recruits to the program.

The team will see seven new outside hitters including Kyla Dothard, Kaireese Johnson, Priscilla Miranda, Jazmarie Rhodes, Ana Vasquez, Kaitlyn Vazin and Kira Hooper, who also works as a defensive specialist. Rhodes, Vasquez and Johnson will also see time on the opposite side. 

Elsewhere, middle blockers/opposites will include Celeste Anaya, Leah Gillie and Naomi Greer.

Incoming liberos include Presley Golphenee, Madison Gomez and Sutton Thompson, who also plays setter. Also joining Thompson in the setter position, incoming freshmen Sofi Aranazu and Jaylyn Zavala.

Returning to the squad is Kamia Benjamin in her sophomore year bringing experience as a middle blocker. 

COC women's volleyball home games will continue to be live streamed to fans free of charge via YouTube on the Cougars Sports Network throughout the 2023 season. Live Stream links will be provided to fans via www.COCathletics.com or via the @COCathletics social media channels.

Stay up to date on all this season's action by following the College of the Canyons Athletic department on social media at @COCathletics on X, InstagramFacebook and YouTube