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Lopes Volleyball Announces Recruiting Class – Part 1 of 3

Lopes freshman Monea Ortiz reaches for a ball during a practice in the LCC Wellness Center

Lopes freshman Monea Ortiz reaches for a ball during a practice in the LCC Wellness Center

The Lamar Community College Runnin’ Lopes volleyball team returns seven sophomores to a team that will have to rely heavily on newcomers when it opens the season at the Little Caesar Classic on Aug. 26 at the LCC Wellness Center.

“The season has come fast, but I think we’re on track,” first-year head coach Dante Geoffrey said. “A lot of hard work has been put in. From a summer P.E. course to an offseason weightlifting program, to individual dedication to improve skills, I know we’ve already gotten a lot better during the summer months.

“And we haven’t even had an official team practice yet.”

The Lopes will have 12 incoming freshmen and one transfer sophomore join the seven returners when the team reports for preseason training on Aug. 7.

Geoffrey said the 20-player roster may be on the younger side, but should have the maturity and drive to make up for the lack of experience.

“You get a sense — especially when you get a player on campus — of what kind of person they are. And while we all have room to grow as 18- and 19-year olds, I think we have a good group of people on this team,” Geoffrey said. “You can’t have a good team, good players, without good people.”

The Lopes will announce their recruiting class in three parts, in chronological order of commitments.

Denver native Jordan Graham was the first to commit to the Lopes Volleyball program. The 5-foot, 7-inch pin hitter from Thomas Jefferson High School and Sudden Impact Volleyball Club committed on March 29, just a month after she caught the eyes of coaches during a strong performance at the 2016 Colorado Crossroads national qualifier in Denver.

“Jordan is one of those players that’s going to do nothing but help your team win,” said Geoffrey, who was hired onMarch 14. “She’s left-handed, which doesn’t seem like a big deal, but that coupled with her ability to hit well from each pin gives our team a lot of options. A player like Jordan is fun for coaches because we can scheme up sorts of different ways to run our offense with her.”

The Lopes didn’t stray far from Graham to find their next recruit.

Monea Ortiz, a Littleton native and Columbine High School alum, played with Graham at Sudden Impact, and continues a family tradition at LCC. Ortiz, a 5-foot, 3-inch defensive specialist follows both her father and brother into LCC athletics. Her father, Donny, and brother, Donny Jr., each played baseball for the Lopes, with the latter finishing his career at LCC this spring.

“Monea brings an extraordinary amount of skill and experience to our back row,” Geoffrey said. “She possesses all the talent and instincts you want in an elite passer and defender, but she’s also developed much of the necessary technique to apply that talent in the best way possible.”

All four middle blockers departed from the Lopes following the 2015-16 season, but Taylor Almaguer (Albuquerque, New Mexico) goes a long way to filling that void.

The 5-foot, 7-inch middle from Sandia High School and Albuquerque Rebels Volleyball Club has the explosiveness and competitive fire that the Lopes demand in the middle of the net.

“Don’t let her height fool you. Actually, do. I think she’ll take a lot of opponents by surprise that way,” Geoffrey said. “Her speed, timing, tenacity, just everything about her will make her a force to be reckoned with. And she might have the best game face on the team.”

Fabiana Freyre further fortifies the Lopes’ stable of excellent defensive specialists after a highly accomplished club career.

Fabi went to Cheyenne Mountain High School in Colorado Springs and played for Colorado Summit Volleyball Club, which finished 10th at the Girls Junior National Championship in Milwaukee from April 29-May 1.

“Fabi played for a very well-respected club with a strong track record,” Geoffrey said. “She’s seen how successful programs are run and will fit right in with what we’re trying to accomplish here in Lamar.”

Visit golopes.com/sports/wvball for full roster, schedule and more information.

 

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