Coast Union High School volleyball coach Pam Kenyon — entering her 28th year as head mentor in Cambria — has earned enormous respect from the community and school for the consistent excellence of her teams. Kenyon’s Broncos teams have a 78-6 record in the Coast Valley League.
With Kenyon, it’s as much about teaching as it is about coaching. This year, the coach is blessed to have returning setters Hayley Zinn and Ailyn Casas — both seniors who she began grooming during their sophomore years. It’s pivotal because Kenyon compares the proficiency and leadership level needed for a setter to a “football quarterback.”
Zinn earned First-Team All-League honors and the Kim Kinney Award for inspirational leadership last year. Casas was League MVP and team MVP in 2017, and she was named Coast Union’s Female Athlete of the Year for her brilliance in volleyball, softball and soccer.
Senior defensive standout Gabby Cisneros is “dynamic to watch,” Kenyon said in an email interview.
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“Great plays will happen because Gabby will not let the ball hit the ground,” she said.
And Ellie Kennedy, a junior, who received All-League Honorable Mention last year, will also “be fun to watch,” Kenyon said.
The coach pointed to juniors Angelique Gutierrez and Riley Volz, who are “playing great” in practices and are expected to achieve “success this season.”
However, two key individuals will be missing from the 2018 team.
Last year’s assistant coach, Sophie Flemion (the former league, team and CIF MVP for Coast Union in 2011) has accepted the head coaching job at Paso Robles High School. Senior Karis Lawson, who was First-Team All-League last year, is not out for volleyball this year.
Kenyon said Lawson is taking four AP classes this year in preparation for college and is ASB president.
“These are hard decisions for kids to make. We’re obviously going to miss her… but we honor her for her decision,” Kenyon said.
Kenyon’s challenges also include getting the team ready to compete a week earlier than in recent years; the first match is at Santa Maria High School on Thursday, Aug. 16.
“We have to quickly gel and establish our offensive and defensive systems to be effective for CIF,” she said.
Kenyon also addressed her health in the interview; she has battled colon cancer since 2013.She reported “a clean bill of health” today. “Coaching makes me feel better,” she said.
2018 home volleyball matches
- Aug. 28: Coastal Christian, 5 p.m.
- Sept. 6: Orcutt Academy, 6 p.m.
- Sept. 8: Pink Stampede Tournament, TBA
- Sept. 11: Maricopa, 5 p.m.
- Sept. 18: Cuyama Valley, 5 p.m.
- Sept. 25: Shandon, 5 p.m.
- Sept. 27: San Luis Obispo Classical Academy, 5 p.m.
- Oct. 9: Valley Christian Academy, 5 p.m.