Northampton Community College team made a national statement in women's volleyball

The Spartans went 35-1 and finished fifth in the NJCAA tournament.

Adrian Yaguez is a baseball man at his core. It's the sport he has always played and coached.

But when Northampton Community College needed a women's volleyball coach a few years ago, Yaguez decided to give it a try.

Three seasons later, he may be one of the most respected coaches in junior college volleyball.

Yaguez has guided NCC to a 72-4 mark over the last three seasons with this year being his best yet.

His Spartans went 35-1, repeated as Eastern Pennsylvania Conference and Region XIX champs and advanced to the National Junior College Athletic Association national tournament where they finished fifth with a 2-1 record.

"Obviously, baseball is my thing, but it's real easy to appreciate the sport when you've got kids like this playing it," Yaguez said. "I'm 110 percent committed to making Northampton a viable option [for the volleyball community]. Whether it's baseball or volleyball, I'm about doing things the right way."

Yaguez said his team did lots of things right, starting with its effort.

"They played every ball like it was the most important ball of their life," Yaguez said. "They truly love the sport and they bought into our system. Everything was one point at a time all year. We had a goal of wanting to get to [Rochester] Minnesota for the national tournament and they just worked hard."

It goes beyond ability.

"They're great character kids with a lot of support from their families," Yaguez said."They understand that we're trying to make a statement. Hopefully, this is just the start of the many statements our program is going to make."

Yaguez had just eight players, but all of them were from District 11 schools — six from the Lehigh Valley.

Nazareth product Lindsey Kizer was in the program for two years as was Bethlehem Catholic grads Ashley McCauley and Anna Domyan. Freshman players included Sawyer Hoyak from Notre Dame, Emily Koehler of Northampton, Barbara Dimon and Samantha Bertasavage from Pine Grove and Sam Schnabel from Catasauqua.

McCauley and Domyan were all-region players as was Koehler, who also made the national all-tournament team.

The hope is more talented players will give NCC a closer look.

"We're hitting the recruiting trail and obviously a lot of girls are reaching out to us now," Yaguez said. "I want to get the word out that I honestly feel we can win a national championship with Lehigh Valley talent. The talent in this Valley is good enough that if we can get them to come here, as we've started to do, we can go all the way. We just need to make sure they know this is a viable option for them."

There are many positives to going the community college route for two years, with No. 1 being the money you can save.

More than that, Yaguez, who is also NCC's assistant athletic director, is determined to run a first-class program.

"We took a trip to Syracuse this year, and next year we're opening up in the Pittsburgh area and going back to Syracuse," he said. "The district championship is in North Carolina and if we win, we go back to Minnesota. I'd stack up a schedule like that against anybody. Volleyball is for real here. We've just got to battle that [community college] perception."


The Allen girls volleyball team may have only gone 5-15 this past season, but the young ladies were winners in a much larger sense.

Featured Stories



Top Trending Videos