September 5, 2008
By John Philip Wyllie
Tamara Miranda grew up with volleyball. Her mother played it in her youth while she was growing up in Tijuana. By the time she reached the fifth grade her mother was working with her on the court and teaching her the nuances of the game.
Cassandra Monroy wasn’t quite as fortunate. This multi-sport athlete added volleyball to her resume much more recently when she enrolled at Castle Park High two years ago. Now a junior, Monroy has developed into a solid player and a leader on Castle Park’s ever improving team.
Together, Miranda and Monroy, the Trojan’s outside hitters, account for the lion’s share of the team’s kills. They hope to make a difference this year as Castle Park embarks on another season of South Bay League volleyball.
“Tamara is a good leader,” according to Trojan coach Mario Figueroa. “She gets the girls rounded up and ready to play in practice and during the games. She is very outgoing and she will probably be our captain this year once we decide on one. Last year, she was working during the season so she had to manage that and volleyball together and she did pretty well with it.”
“Cassandra has been on varsity for three years and she is only a junior,” Figueroa continued. “As a freshman, it wasn’t so much her skills that got her on to this varsity team, it was more her commitment. She was always one of the first ones to arrive and she was very enthusiastic. You can teach them a lot of things, but you can’t teach them enthusiasm. That has to come from within. Like Tamara, Cassandra is very good with leadership and getting the other girls pumped up.”
It has been a while since Castle Park has won a league banner in girl’s volleyball, but Miranda and Monroy like the way this team is shaping up.
“It’s very early and we have a lot of new girls, but if we keep working it should be a good team. The talent is there, but we have to learn to play as a team,” Monroy said.
In addition to the exercise and the camaraderie that volleyball provides, Miranda and Monroy have also benefited academically from their involvement.
“Playing on this team actually helps me in school because I focus every grading period on keeping my grades up. That way I can play the sports that I want to play,” Monroy added.
“Last year was my hardest year because I had a lot of honors classes. That made it really hard to focus on school and sports, but I made grades, but it was a challenge,” Miranda said.
Both Miranda and Monroy plan to attend college and extend their athletic careers there, but for the present they are focused on the more immediate goal of helping the Trojans bring home a banner.