El Camino beach volleyball team gears up for third season

El Camino’s beach volleyball team gears up for its third season against Cypress College on Wednesday at 2 p.m. at the Sand Courts.

The end of last year’s season saw former No. 1 seed Nickeisha Williams and Michelle Shimamoto fall in the Round of 16 in the Individual State Tournament, while the Warriors as a team fell in the Regional Championships.

As it does every year, the team has changed, but several of the Warriors are back to hopefully dominate as they did in the 15-1 regular season run a year ago.

Here’s how the five pairs look as of right now:

No. 1 pair of Taylor Brydon and Brooklyn Rubio (both sophomores) – Brydon and and Rubio had different partners last year as freshmen, but still made an impact on the season. Rubio and her former partner, Jewel Yandall, lost just two matches last year, while Brydon and former partner, Brooke Russell, had to do their job as the No. 3 pair.

Both come together to sport the top pair for the Warriors this season.

No. 2 pair of Micah Hammond and Michelle Shimamoto (freshman/sophomore) – Shimamoto takes on a new role in the same position. She was the “freshman” in last years No. 2 pair with Williams, but this time she’ll be the “veteran” and with Hammond’s ability to spike balls straight down and her blocking coverage on the net, the pair should be a force to be reckoned with.

No. 3 pair of Aiko Waters and Kiana Takahashi (freshman/sophomore) – Takahashi was not on any of the starting five pairs last semester, but will begin her beach season at EC with Waters by her side.

Takahashi’s defense and serving were clutch when she came off the bench in the 2016 indoor season and Waters has the ability to go up and turn any set into a point for her team.

No. 4 pair of Victoria Curtice and Megan Lim (sophomore/freshman) – Curtice was part of the only EC pair to not make it to the individual state tournament last spring, but will look to forget about that blunder with new partner Lim.

No. 5 pair – Head coach Le Valley Pattison said the No. 5 pair is currently tentative, and the team will not find out until the end of today’s practice.

It could be any combination of sophomores Nina Wyer or Cassie Montani or freshman Glorious “Glo” Owens.

Assistant coach Jessica Arakaki said that it could even involve the team’s new transfer player from Cal State Fullerton (should she be elligible to play).

“All of the pairs have been beating each other,” Arakaki said. “It’s been a really competitive (off-season) and we’ll see what happens tomorrow (vs. Cypress).”