By KATIE SPARLING
Volleyball is coming to Amarillo College. The head coach of AC’s new volleyball team says she has high expectations for her players. Amanda Black said she knows the new team will face challenges but she is excited for their season to start.
“I hope to have a lot of support from the community and organizations on campus and for us to be able to highlight the successes of what’s going on campus and great things, organizations in the community during our matches in the fall,” Black, said.
Black, who originated from Georgetown, just north of Austin, has lived in Amarillo since 2016. She said she considers getting chosen for head coach “a privilege, I love Amarillo!” Black said that she is also excited that the team will practice in the Carter Fitness Center, which is currently undergoing an $8 million renovation. A challenge for the season is “not having dorms on campus, but the main goal is to compete high and have success all throughout conference,” Black said.
The players can come from anywhere in the nation. “There is one open tryout each year (legally all we can host). Apart from that, kids are hand-picked by me, the coach. There is an in-depth recruiting process,” said Black.
One of those players is Desiree Sotello, Amarillo born and raised. Sotello, a nursing major, said, “My goal is to make this program’s first season a success. Another goal is to create a welcoming environment where everyone is comfortable, as well as to have fun, make friends and be competitive. My personal goal is to be a team player who benefits my team both on and off the court.” Sotello said, “I’m hoping for a lot of encouragement and support from the fans. Also, the games are so much more enjoyable when the supporters are loud and cheering!”
Another student is Taylor Irving, whose major is undecided. Irivng’s goal for the season is “to have a winning season and hopefully going to nationals.” The Badgers will play a bunch of teams this coming fall season including “Frank Phillips, Clarendon, Western Texas, New Mexico, Odessa and Midland,” said Irving. Irving said that she has been playing since the second grade and also “earned defense player of the year and All-State honors two years in a row.”
Both players said that they are looking forward to a smashing inaugural season and to seeing the fans supporting them as well.