Chuck Sterni has seen the Lodi High volleyball team as an opposing coach.
Now the new Lodi High volleyball head coach is preparing his team this summer in vigorous workouts that he thinks will pay off. He has a winning record to prove it, too.
Sterni takes over for Kalani Vaughns, who coached only one season with the Flames. The 2018 Lodi High volleyball team posted an 0-10 record in the Tri-City Athletic League and 11-20 overall. In the last three seasons, Lodi has won a combined 32 matches.
This is the third consecutive year Lodi has had a new volleyball head coach. Brad Friesen, who teaches physical education at Lodi High, was the Flames’ coach during the 2017 season. Krista Brereton served the same role from 1999 until the end of the 2016 season. The last time Lodi made the Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs was the 2012 season when it went 14-10 with an 8-2 record in the San Joaquin Athletic Association.
During Thursday’s conditioning workouts inside The Inferno, Sterni had approximately 40 players taking part in plyometrics, which are exercises that exert maximum force in muscles in short intervals of time that helps increase power/speed-strength. Two of those drills the girls participated in were jumping onto and off two boxes that were almost a foot high and the volleyball version of hopscotch in which players had to keep both feet in the box while jumping to the next one.
“Building their muscles up for our season,” Sterni said. “Focusing on their strengths. The competition in the TCAL is very competitive.”
Added Lodi High Athletic Director Robert Winterhalter, “Chuck is very organized and brings a lot of experience to Lodi High volleyball.”
Backrow player Jordyn Hummell, a junior who started as a sophomore during the 2018 season, is sold on Sterni.
“Coach Chuck is a very reliable coach, which Lodi needs,” Hummell said. “He’s fun, but knows when to put it in game mode and focus. He is willing to invest into Lodi and do his best for us. I am so excited to be a part of his program this upcoming season.”
Winterhalter added, “The athletes with whom I’ve talked all say that this year seems different than years past, in a good way. They’re working hard but know that it will pay off.”
Hummell is one of some returning players. Gianna Mora, along with Hannah Dondero, Riley Woznick and Morgan Orlando are the others.
Before he accepted the Lodi High volleyball coaching position recently, Sterni was the Liberty High of Brentwood volleyball coach for the last two seasons. Liberty posted a 20-9 record with a 10-0 mark in the Bay Valley League of the North Coast Section last season.
One of Liberty’s wins came against Lodi in a non-league match at The Inferno on Aug. 28, 2018.
“I watched the team and I could see that they have the potential, but they were struggling a lot,” Sterni said. “They had a great team, they just didn’t have structure.”
During the 2017 season, Liberty had an 8-2 mark in the BVL and went 20-10 overall.
Prior to Liberty, Sterni was the Millennium High volleyball coach in Tracy. From 2014 to 2016, Millennium won a combined 30 matches.
“He has a history of building programs up to a standard of winning,” said Winterhalter of Sterni.
After he completed the 2018 season with the Liberty squad, Sterni weighed his coaching options. When the Lodi coaching position opened earlier this year, he applied.
“I felt like Lodi was leading in my heart,” Sterni said. “That is what’s nice about my program is that they have embraced my culture. They can turn this thing around and go 10-0 (in TCAL). Our goal is to win league and be in the playoffs.”
According to Elliot Christian High Principal Tim Clements in an email, the Eagles have a new athletic director and volleyball head coach.
Ron Wilborn is the new athletic director. He takes over for Angela Juelch, who held the position for the 2018-19 school year. Juelch was also the Eagles’ volleyball coach.
Clements also said that Kim Maynard is the new Elliot Christian High volleyball coach. She is also the Eagles’ third volleyball coach in as many seasons.
Contact Mike Bush at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @MBushLodiSports.