COSTA MESA, Calif. – Monday, August 7th begins the Lions journey for the 2017 season, the first under new head coach JP Dorn and assistant coach Amy DeGroot. Vanguard adds seven new players to the mix, while senior Taylor Jackson (SR/Las Vegas, NV) returns after a redshirt season. Eliana Johnson (FR/Scottsdale, CA), Joelle Dueck (FR/San Jose, CA), Kylie Garrett (FR/Ladera Ranch, CA), and Kayla Fisher (FR/Yucaipa, CA) enter the upperclassmen laden squad. Jena Lee (SR/San Dimas, CA) joins the Pride for one final collegiate season while Kirtstin Trabert and Chloe Fry (FR/Irvine, CA) enter their sophomore season.
"I couldn't me more excited to get this season started, Amy and I inherited a strong recruiting class with an additional 15 returners that bring hard work, spiritual depth and a lot of leadership," Dorn proudly exclaimed. "We will have all the components to piece an extremely competitive team together and fight for the top of the GSAC."
Returning from last year's squad include NAIA All-American Honorable Mentions/All-GSAC selections Rebecca Lowden (JR/Glendora, CA) and Juanae Johnson (SR/Santa Monica, CA) – both members from the 2015 GSAC Champions. In total, seven members of the Blue and Gold will hit the court this year that were on that historic VU season.
A year ago, the Lions finished in fourth place in the always tough GSAC standings behind Westmont, Biola, and The Master's University. With the Eagles off to greener pastures at the NCAA Division II level, it is shaping up to be another trio of teams vying for the conference title.
This year also marks the creation of a Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament, with the winner receiving the conference's automatic berth into the NAIA National Tournament. The event will be held at The Master's University starting on November 9th.
Vanguard kicks off training camp in just under four days and has their first match on August 12th at 8:15 p.m. against La Sierra University, a common tradition for both programs. Earlier in the day the Lions will play the Blue and Gold Alumni Game starting at 2:00 p.m.