By Ray Hamill — After six years in charge of the College of the Redwoods volleyball team, head coach Petra Lorenzi is stepping away from the program, the Corsairs announced on Wednesday.
Former Cal Poly Humboldt assistant coach Paul Castillo will take over the position.
Lorenzi, a Del Norte native and former Big 5 MVP player, says she is taking some time off to consider the next chapter in her life.
“I’m going to go back to Del Norte for a couple of months and then I’m looking to relocate and possibly travel a little bit,” she said, adding that “I’m exploring a couple of career options, and I want to get out and explore, with the world being open again.
“It just seemed like a good time to step away.”
The North Coast native said she was considering the move right as COVID hit, but opted to remain with the program until things settled down again.
CR Athletics Director Bob Brown expressed his gratitude for everything Lorenzi brought to the local community college, which went well beyond the volleyball court.
“I sincerely want to thank Petra for all her contributions to our department, not only with the volleyball program but also in academic advising of student athletes and the academic success of her team as one of our department leaders during her time at CR,” he said.
“She did an excellent job in helping students really understand the work and level of commitment necessary to compete and be successful at the college level while still prioritizing your education.
“We wish her all the success in her next career endeavor.
Castillo brings plenty of coaching experience to the program after spending some time at Cal Poly Humboldt from 2019 to 2022, as well as 15 years as an assistant coach at Santa Rosa JC.
“I’m really grateful they reached out and thought of me,” he said. “I think it’s really exciting and I’m looking forward to getting in there and hopefully continuing to build the program.”
The transition should be an easy one.
“We also feel extremely fortunate to have Paul coming on board and bringing his extensive coaching experience and knowledge to the program,” Brown said.
As an assistant coach at Cal Poly Humboldt, Castillo is on familiar terms with many of the local high school programs and says he will be reaching out to the H-DN teams.
He added he will be teaching a night volleyball program to try and get the local community involved.
“His connections throughout the volleyball community will be invaluable in bringing in new students to compete,” Brown said.
Lorenzi, meanwhile, expressed her gratitude to the Corsairs and the local community for the opportunity they gave over the past six years.
“I couldn’t be more thankful to College of the Redwoods, the entire athletic department and the the entire staff,” she said. “I feel lucky to work with so many of the players that I have.”
With four or five players expected back from one of her biggest recruiting classes, Lorenzi also feels the immediate future of the team is in good shape.
“Coming in, Paul will have a nice solid group of returners, and I think he’s going to do a great job with them,” she said.
Castillo’s previous head coaching experience includes a spell from 2016 to 2019 with Pacific Union College, an NAIA program in Napa.
Lorenzi is leaving the door open on a possible return to coaching some time in the future.
“I’m not saying I’ll never be back,” she said. “Right now I just need a little time away. It could be something I step back into, whether that’s at the club level or high school or college.”