Lopez has successful volleyball season

College freshman now playing basketball for Tigers

editor@sierrastar.comDecember 10, 2013 

Former Yosemite High standout athlete Dahlia Lopez recently finished her volleyball season as a freshman at Reedley Community College by being selected to the Central Valley All-Conference second team.

The 6-foot-1 starting middle blocker was the Tiger's second leading scorer (295 points on the season) and ranked fourth in the conference in kills (134) and kills per set (2.98). She also contributed 30 service aces, 68 digs, and 36 blocked shots for the season.

Lopez said the team is looking to improve next year after having an overall 11-12 season, 7-8 in the Central Valley Conference this year.

Lopez said this season she developed as a player and improved her skills under coach Shannon Jefferies.

She said her favorite memory of the past season was beating Taft, a school that beat the Tigers earlier in the season.

"Pulling off a win on their court at the end of the season showed how much improvement our team made," Lopez said. "We finished strong winning four of our last five conference games."

After the season, Lopez continued to work out with the volleyball team for a month when she went to a home women's basketball game.

She wasn't planning on playing basketball after a grueling volleyball season but changed her mind after attending the game.

"I couldn't handle just watching — I wanted to play," Lopez said.

The day before Thanksgiving, as the team was preparing to travel to Santa Maria for a game with Alan Hancock Community College, Lopez told head basketball coach Dan Kilbert she wanted to join the team.

"Coach Kilbert told me to go pack a bag and get on the bus for Santa Maria," Lopez said.

Reedley lost the game by two points, 70-68, with Lopez seeing limited playing time.

After getting in five practices with the team, Lopez got more playing time in losses to Cerritos JC (82-75, and Antelope Valley (70-51). The team is currently 0-8 and will play Santa Barbara Community College tonight in the Alan Hancock tournament.

Kilbert said said Lopez, who is averaging 6.7 rebounds a game in limited action, is doing well.

"She is doing a great job bringing energy to our team and is gaining experience each game," Kilbert said.

Lopez is adjusting well from volleyball to basketball and hopes to make a positive contribution to the team.

"You have to be committed and give extra effort to play both sports ... but I'm enjoying the challenge," Lopez said.

Lopez is a physical therapy major and plans to transfer to California State University, Fresno or a university where she can continue playing volleyball while earning her degree.

She was a three year varsity player in both volleyball and basketball for the Yosemite High Badgers. She was a first team North Sequoia League All-League selection in volleyball in her junior and senior year and basketball last season.

The lone senior on both Badger teams last season, she was the captain of the volleyball team and co-captain of the basketball team.

In a volleyball win over Liberty last season, she had 19 kill shots, four ace serves and two blocked shots.

On the basketball court, Lopez helped the Badgers win a league title, leading the team in scoring with 225 points (8.7 points per game average), along with 183 rebounds (seven per game average) and 57 steals. She was a candidate for the NSL player of the year award.

The team went 16-10 and 9-1 in league. It was the 11th consecutive year the Badgers have shared or won outright the North Sequoia League title.

She played in the 43rd Annual City-County All Star basketball game, and was named Girl Athlete of the Year last spring at Yosemite.

Lopez is already looking forward to next volleyball season at Reedley.

"The returning players are dedicated to having a successful season next year," Lopez said."Our goal is to win the conference and play in the state championship tournament."

Beyond volleyball and basketball, Lopez is experiencing her first time away from home, living in the Reedley College Residence Hall and enjoys having an around the clock group of friends, especially fellow athletes.

"I really like it here — the people are friendly and I'm enjoying school and playing for Reedley," Lopez said.

Her father, Steve, is the head varsity boys basketball coach at Yosemite.

Reedley will play at 5 p.m. at Merced Community College on Saturday, Jan. 11, and at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 22 at Fresno City College.

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