Knights volleyball shows continued success throughout season

Ranked players Alina Fletes and DeeAnn Schaal share their insight on what they think keeps the team moving

Marissa Gonzalez, Sports Editor

Standing at 6-foot-1, San Diego City College volleyball player and sophomore DeeAnn Schaal towers over 5-5 freshman teammate Alina Fletes, but the two girls share a lot of similarities.

Both women are multi-talented across different sports, with an evident drive to succeed.

Schaal played basketball and volleyball in her freshman year at Canyon High School in Anaheim. Fletes played volleyball, water polo and softball in her freshman year at La Mesa Helix High School.

And still, they both were brought back to a love for volleyball, and chose to specialize in the sport.

When asked about their success since coming to City College, both girls attributed it to their teammates.

“We have a really good team dynamic,” Schaal said. “The team is bonding well together, and are playing really well together.” 

While they chose to highlight their team, one that in recent weeks was ranked in the top 25 in the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference and is made up of all but two freshman, they also took top spots of their own.

At the beginning of the month, Fletes was ranked first in the state with 122 digs, while Schaal led the state with 61 kills.

Fletes said her dad, who is one of the team’s assistant coaches, and her childhood relationship with head coach Dede Bodnar were the big reasons she decided to play for City College.

Schaal says her parents push her to work harder. Coming to City College was her opportunity to come back home to Southern California, after moving to Oregon.

“It’s a lot of time management, and taking classes when you know you’re not going to have volleyball,” said Fletes, “and trying to have days off to do all your schoolwork to keep up.”

San Diego City College women's volleyball team
San Diego City College women’s volleyball celebrates point by coming together. By Jonny Rico.

They have big goals for their future, wanting to transfer and play for another school. Schaal is pursuing a degree in zoology, and Fletes is studying physical therapy.

Such a big academic commitment while adding volleyball takes passion, and each viewed college practices as more strenuous than what they were used to in high school. But for Schaal, the love of the sport makes it all worth it.

“They are the hardest working bunch of individuals I’ve worked with in my life,” said Bodnar, an award-winning coach who has coached professional, junior high, and college teams for 25 years.

Bodnar praises the team on their contagious desire to get better, and their eagerness to learn and do what it takes to accomplish that.

Bodnar said overcoaching may be one of her faults, and with such a young team, it’s easy to rush them along to make them better, quicker. But Bodnar says while she thinks she can slow down, the girls are willing to do any and every thing to improve.

“I know that there is more than volleyball outside (of life), but these girls invested a lot,” Bodnar said. “I can change their life as a person, a student-athlete – I want to change their lives more than just in volleyball.”