Redwoods coach excited about 2022 local recruiting class

Submitted photo – From left to right, Ella Day, Lily Larue, Zoe Zerlang, Molly Slayton and Abby Costello-Anderson at this week’s letter signing.

By Ray Hamill — The 2022 local recruiting class for College of the Redwoods volleyball will be the largest in several years, and head coach Petra Lorenzi couldn’t be happier about it.

“For me, this group is probably the group I’m most excited about,” said Lorenzi, who is in her sixth year as head coach. “This was the initial crew at my first camp (as eighth graders) and they’ve been to my camps every year and so I’ve got to know a lot of these girls over the years.”

The four new recruits all signed their letters of commitment to play at CR on Sunday and were joined by returning middle blocker Zoe Zerlang, who is the only player from 2021 definitely coming back at this stage.

Zerlang started at middle blocker as a freshman and played what Lorenzi described as a “key” role for the team.

“She definitely worked hard and she absolutely earned everything she got,” the coach said of the former Fortuna Husky. 

That Fortuna connection has been a productive one for the Corsairs in several sports in recent years and continues to be so for the volleyball program, with Lorenzi bringing a Husky on board in each of her six years in charge.

Joining Zerlang this year will be another Fortuna middle blocker, Lily Larue, who has been participating in the team spring practice sessions and has impressed Lorenzi with how she has handled herself.

“She’s got a great attitude on the court, and she’s really eager to learn,” the head coach said. “She’s a good personality fit and she’s got some power in her spring.”

Two Arcata players also will play this fall, including outside hitter Abby Costello-Anderson, who was an all-league selection on the Tigers’ Big 5 championship team last fall.

Costello-Anderson battled some injuries as a senior and wasn’t able to show what she’s capable of, according to the coach, who is excited about several aspects of her game.

Submitted photo

“She has leadership and experience and she’s really a good all-around player,” said Lorenzi, who has worked with Costello-Anderson since she was young. “She’s a very team oriented player.”

And that’s a particularly key attribute in volleyball, a sport where every player has to be instinctively in unison on every play.

Another former Tiger, Ella Day, also will play for the Corsairs this fall.

An all-league selection in the spring of 2021, Day spent the last year studying at Butte, but has decided to return to the coast and return to the sport.

“She’s coming back to CR and was missing the game of volleyball,” Lorenzi said of the talented outside hitter. “She’s excited. And Ella’s just got a fun personality and she’s coachable and she’s a good teammate.”

Rounding out the class of local recruits is Del Norte’s Molly Slayton, another player who is coming off an injury-plagued year, but someone Lorenzi is particularly excited about.

“She’s just a tough kid,” the CR coach said. “She’s had two knee surgeries and she still wants to play.

“She’s a very good athlete and she has a high level of ball control and she’s a good utility player. She can set, defend, pass and she’s got a great serve.”

With just one player likely returning from the 2021 team, Lorenzi has also added five out-of-area players, whom she feels will complement the local contingent, particularly with their ball control.

“We’re pretty balanced and we’re going to be a pretty strong defensive team,” the coach said. “We’re bringing in a lot of ball control from out of the area and I’m excited to work with these girls. They’re each going to bring their own personality to the team, and I think they’re going to do very well this year.”

The Corsairs will begin preseason practice in mid July with the season opener set for mid August.

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