By Ray Hamill — Three more local volleyball standouts are taking their talents to College of the Redwoods, as the Corsairs prepare for a return to action this fall.
Fortuna’s Kendall Stewart, McKinleyville’s Ashley Alves and Arcata’s Cheyenne Wilson have all committed to play for the team and all three are expected to play a big role when the Corsairs take to the court for the first time in two years.
Stewart, who was also a key member of the successful Fortuna girls basketball team over the past two years, chose CR despite having plenty of other options.
“She’s a great academic student,” CR head coach Petra Lorenzi said. “And she had a lot of options, so we’re excited to get her for volleyball. She’s an athletic kid with a great attitude.”
Lorenzi got to see Stewart up close at some of the CR camps over the years and is excited about the person she recruited as much as the athlete.
“She’s athletic, and she’s quick,” the coach said. “And ultimately she’s a phenomenal kid to work with.”
Stewart will also play basketball for the Corsairs.
Alves, meanwhile will follow in the footsteps of her cousin Olivia Alves, who was a part of the CR beach volleyball program before it was cut last year.
And that family connection played a part in her recruitment, according to the coach.
“She’s a hard working athlete,” said Lorenzi, who liked what she saw from Alves in an abbreviated season this past spring. “And I think she’s going to do a lot for us defensively.”
Wilson didn’t play this past spring, but Lorenzi believes she has a big upside.
“She’s a kid who hasn’t unleashed her potential,” the coach said. “But as a junior she was fun to watch play. She’s got great energy and she’s excited to be a part of the team.”
The newcomers will join a couple of recruits from outside the area and several returning players from last season, including Fortuna’s Zoe Zerlang, all of whom get an extra year of eligibility.
“Everybody’s a freshman this year athletically,” Lorenzi said. “We have returners, but none have competed in a (college) game.”
The coach, however, expects the team to be competitive in the Golden Valley Conference this fall.
“I think we’re going to be highly competitive,” she said. “We’re all in the same boat (after COVID), but I think we’re in a pretty good one. We’ve got a lot of good kids and I’m excited about their attitude.
“I’m just excited about their personality, their attitude, their excitement to get back on the court, and really the willingness I’m seeing to put in the work this summer.”
Lorenzi expects to have around 11 players on her roster, but says she is always willing to add to that if the right players come along.
“I don’t ever close my door,” she said.