Cambrian: Sports

All-time great Coast Union High girls volleyball team remembered as 2019 season kicks off

Coast Union High School graduate Skyler Moon in the process of slaming the ball over the net in a game her freshman year at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz.
Coast Union High School graduate Skyler Moon in the process of slaming the ball over the net in a game her freshman year at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz.

Longtime Coast Union High School girls volleyball head coach Pam Kenyon expects to continue the consistent success her teams have had in the Coast Valley League (CVL) over the past dozen years with another talented roster heading into her 26th year.

Coast’s record is a sparkling 90-6 over the past eight years. That includes winning the CVL championship the past four years.

In addition to challenges associated with teaching volleyball skills to high school student athletes, Kenyon is once again confronting a stubborn colon cancer, which has plagued her off and on since she was originally diagnosed in 2013.

The veteran coach began chemo treatment on Aug. 20 and explained in an email, “I am planning on coaching throughout the season.”

In a pair of early season non-league matches against Orcutt Academy (Aug. 22), the Lady Broncos dropped the first match 2-1 (25-12, 23-25, 15-9) and lost the second 3-0 (25-23, 25-19, 25-14).

The Broncos are on the road next against Cuyama Valley at 5 p.m. Sept. 3; the next home match for Coast Union is at 5 p.m. Sept. 5 against Santa Maria’s Valey Christian Academy.

Remembering 2008 team’s success

In the meantime, Kenyon took time to recall “one of the most successful teams that I have had in 25 years of coaching.”

The 2008 team, led by Skyler Moon “made it to the final four — one of 16 teams in the state to make it that far. One of the best high school seasons and performances we have ever had,” the coach said.

Moon had a “fantastic performance to help bring us to that point,” Kenyon said. “Skyler was a middle hitter and very powerful. I was happy she decided to continue to play volleyball in college.”

In any list of elite Coast Union graduates — whose athletic and academic successes brought countywide acclaim — Moon’s name shines bright.

Moon is that rare Coast graduate who went on to excel at the college level in her chosen sport; only a handful have accomplished that.

Moon (class of 2009) played softball, basketball and volleyball all four years at Coast, and never missed making an honor roll. As a senior, she earned a coveted spot on The Tribune’s “First Team All San Luis Obispo County” — a rare honor for a student from Coast Union. She was named “Coast Union Female Athlete of the Year” in 2009, an honor she said in an email interview that means the most to her.

She was named to the “All Coast Conference” in her freshman and sophomore years as a middle blocker at Cabrillo Community College in Santa Cruz. “We only lost one game in conference my sophomore year,” she said.

After Cabrillo, Moon played a quality brand of volleyball for two years at Dominican College. She was second on her team in blocked shots her sophomore year (34) and third in team kills (108). She was on the Pacific West Conference Weekly Top 10 “Honor Roll” for her 10-kill game verses Chaminade, and was named to the 2011-2012 Pacific West Conference All-Academic team in her senior year.

Moon’s success and challenges since college

Moon received her master’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Dominican and now works as an occupational therapist in Marin County. But while finishing her master’s, she was diagnosed with colon cancer. That cancer hit her at about the same time that her father, Earl Moon, had a tragic fall from a ladder in Cambria.

The stress “was, and still is, enormous,” Moon explained, as the family dealt with Earl’s quadriplegia and her cancer.

“Things were very difficult... I was about two weeks from graduating with my masters, and I almost considered dropping out to move back home with my family,” she said. “But my mom and dad did not want me to do that... and encouraged me to finish school.”

Moon’s father died in November 2018, and today she says what “got us through everything was our family, friends and community. The strength my whole family (her mother Jan and her brother Westin) has shown through everything has been amazing.”

Looking back on her high school career, she recalls that Kenyon “was a great coach and a role model. She pushed us to work hard but also allowed us to have fun along the way. Her passion for the game definitely had a big influence on our team.”

Moon is now cancer free, though she has regularly scheduled check-ups.

At Coast, she thought about a career “working with people and making a difference in their lives,” as a special education teacher, for example.

She had no idea what occupational therapy was; yet today she is using the teamwork and communication skills honed in competitive volleyball to work with an “interdisciplinary team of occupational therapists, physical therapists, speech therapists, nurses, doctors and social workers.”

Moon said she received “tremendous support and love” throughout the health challenges she and her father faced. That same support and love has kept Kenyon strong throughout her bouts with cancer, and she will need it again now that she’s back on chemo.

Coast football season kicks off

The Coast Union football team opens its nine-game season at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 30 at home against Laguna Blanca from Santa Barbara.

The game can be heard live on KTEA-FM (103.5).

The remainder of Coast’s schedule is as follows:

@Trinity Christian, 11 a.m., Sept. 7

Riverdale Christian, 7 p.m., Sept. 13

@Kings Christian, 7 p.m., Sept. 20

Frazier Mountain, 7 p.m., Sept. 27

@Crystal Spring Uplands, 1 p.m., Oct. 5

@Maricopa, 7 p.m., Oct. 11

@Valley Chrisitan Academy, 7 p.m., Oct. 25

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