The team and coaching staff are ready to begin this year as the Gustine Lady Reds season is right around the corner and approaching fast. 

Head varsity coach Solomona Laupua has been off to the races this season as he has been guiding varsity and also the frosh-soph players all summer long, going through team drills and skill sets.

This season Laupua will be at the helm of a varsity squad which is largely inexperience.

“This season I really wanted to work hard with my team since we are so young and inexperienced at the high school level,” said Laupua. “This is a much faster game.” 

This is Laupua’s eighth season as a coach for the Gustine High volleyball program. He has one prior year of filling the head coaching role.

The program has progressed, he said, and is seeing greater player numbers now - albeit it with younger athletes.

A number of young players will have the opportunity to shine at the varsity level this season.

Laupua said he may bring up four of the 13 freshmen playing volleyball to the varsity team this year.

“This a good freshmen class and I’m very impressed by them,” commented Laupua. “The freshmen are really going to be the future of this program.”

Compounding Gustine’s challenges this season will be a lack of height on the court, putting the emphasis on sound, fundamental defense rather than a strong net presence.

“Our defense, such as our digging and covering, is really what is going to help us this year,” said Laupua. “Hitting will eventually happen over time for us.”

Through the course of the summer Gustine players have focused on discipline and defense.

Upcoming scrimmages will help Laupua gauge the progress of his team and “seeing who works well together and who is ready for the season.”

Laupua’s goals for the season include playing dominant defense, fielding a team that competes on the court and making the post-season, he told Mattos Newspapers.

The Lady Reds have their first taste of action in a Ceres scrimmage Tuesday, Aug 20. They will begin league play Sept. 10 when Mariposa visits the West Side.

The Lady Reds will have a new look in more ways than one when they take the court. Gustine will be sporting new uniforms, made possible through donations from A-Plus Plumbing.