CCBC Essex Volleyball Adjusting to New, Old Coach

Under new coach, Eastern Tech grads Claudia Valencia and Courtney Krout are key players for the Knights.

Last year Claudia Valencia and Courtney Krout helped lead the before losing to Marriotts Ridge of Howard County.

While both players were seniors on the team, they are also teammates this season. Valencia and Krout are freshmen at CCBC Essex, who have a first-year head coach in .

"They are really strong players for us," Zamora-Luna told Patch this week. Valencia is a 5-foot-5 outside hitter and Krout is a 5-8 player from Dundalk.

Other key players for CCBC are sophomore libero Ali Gorman (), sophomore setter Morgan Souchak (), freshman outside hitter Taylor Franks (Oldfields) and freshman middle blocker Taylor Pearce ().

Souchak, second-team all-region last year as a freshman, hopes to play at a four-year school next year, according to Zamora-Luna, and is looking at of the Colonial Athletic Association.

Tanika Hawkins () is a freshman middle blocker. The rest of the roster includes freshman middle blocker Amber Simon (Palmer High), freshman middle blocker Amelia Smith (Owings Mills) and freshman Nichole Malloy of Patapsco.

"This year we started off slowly," said Zamora-Luna, whose team was 4-10 overall after an 0-7 start. "We had a few issues on our team with numbers (of players). But we are starting to win a few games."

The first-year head coach noted that the Knights lost to Anne Arundel Community College at home Sept. 9 then turned around and beat AACC the next day in the Baltimore City tournament.

Then on Sept. 13, the Knights rallied at Howard Community College in Columbia to win, 25-14, 14-25, 24-26, 25-20, 16-14.

CCBC Essex has since lost two straight matches at Hagerstown Community College last Friday and at Allegany College on Tuesday.

Zamora-Luna, an assistant for the Knights last year, grew up in California. She headed east to play volleyball for three years at Fairmont State, a Division II program in West Virginia.

She has been in Maryland for about eight years and has been involved with the Upper Chesapeake Volleyball Club. She teaches Spanish at C. Milton Wright High School in Bel Air.

After a slow start, Zamora-Luna is encouraged by the recent play of the Knights.

"Our numbers are looking better," she said. "They are really focused."

Men's Soccer

Sophomore Elton Joe scored a goal and had 2 assists as the Knights cruised to a 5-1 win Wednesday at Delaware Tech. CCBC Essex next plays at 4 p.m., Friday at Montgomery-Rockville.

Women's Soccer

The Knights are now 2-1-1 (0-1-1 in MD JUCO play) following their 1-1 tie Wednesday at Anne Arundel Community College. AACC is ranked seventh in the latest NJCAA Division I national poll. CCBC Essex hosts Mercer County on Sunday and Montgomery Rockville on Tuesday.

Essex-Middle River Patch Editor Ron Snyder contributed to this story.







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